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Member of staff using technology in theatre

Patients first in the UK to benefit from leading-edge digital catheter

A surgical team led by Mr Alberto Martinez-Isla, Consultant Laparoscopic Upper GI Surgeon, has become the first outside of the United States to use the leading-edge SpyGlass Discover Digital Catheter, to perform a laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE).

The procedure, which involved a 28-year-old female patient who was admitted with jaundice during the Covid-19 crisis, took place at Central Middlesex Hospital.

The bile duct is a hollow tube running from the liver to the small bowel and provides a passage for the flow of bile. Stones slipping out of the gall bladder and into the bile duct can cause obstruction and jaundice as well as acute pancreatitis.

Laparoscopic bile duct exploration is part of a single stage procedure, which enables fewer interventions, shortens the patient’s length of stay in hospital and reduces surgical complications and risks in patients with bile duct stones and the gallbladder in situ.

In comparison, the standard treatment involves at least two hospital visits and a much longer recovery time for patients.

During the LCBDE a tiny incision is made in the abdominal wall and a 3 mm tube is inserted into the abdomen. A camera is then passed through the tube (in this case the SpyGlass) to locate the gallstones. Next, a laser is guided through the tube to blast the gallstones into small pieces which are collected after which the gallbladder is removed.

Mr Alberto Martinez-Isla says that LNWH is a leader in the field for this type of surgery: “The SpyGlass Discover Digital Catheter features high resolution and lighting to provide a clear view of the bile duct. By using the very latest technology we can streamline surgical procedures and enhance patient safety.

“Crucially, as the NHS tackles the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 we can also reduce hospital admissions.”

Darragh Tolan, Vice President of Endoscopy EMEA, at Boston Scientific said: “I am delighted that Mr Martinez-Isla and his team had such a positive expereince with SpyGlass Discover Digital Catheter.

“Working in partnership with the NHS has always been important to us, but during COVID this has really stepped up. Our aim throughout the crisis has been to stay focused on our customers and keep a ‘solutions mindset’ through times of great uncertainty.

“I’m proud of the support we’ve been able to provide to the surgical team at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and thank them for their ongoing partnership with us.”

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