Bradford doctor leads the way in treatment (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

by Symptom Advice on April 14, 2012

Consultant is first in county to use new method for treating gallstones

4:00pm Tuesday 10th April 2012 in Bradford By Claire Lomax

a doctor in Bradford has become the first in Yorkshire to use a new technique to shatter gallstones in patients.

Gallstones are stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. In most cases they do not cause any symptoms. however, in a small number of cases, gallstones can become trapped in a duct, which leads to a range of symptoms, including a sudden intense pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting and jaundice.

Risk factors include obesity and age, with older people more likely to develop gallstones.

Women are also two to three times more likely to develop gallstones than men.

Traditionally, patients needing treatment for gallstones, many of them elderly, have faced major surgery and hospital stays of up to ten days, or frequent visits to hospital for treatment to put in stents.

Health bosses in Bradford have now invested £50,000 in new equipment called SpyGlass from a company called Boston Scientific.

it consists of a baby endoscope – a tiny flexible tube and eye piece to see inside the body – which can pass up a standard endoscope and into the bile duct to directly visualise abnormalities.

tiny forceps can then be used by the doctor to take a biopsy, to aid diagnosis and management of disease or a lithotripter – a device which emits electrohydraulic shock waves – can pass up the baby scope to shatter gallstones.

it will be used on patients who have stones which can’t be removed surgically or using standard endoscopic techniques.

Dr Conrad Beckett, a consultant gastroenterologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was the first to use SpyGlass, making Bradford one of only eight other centres in the country carrying out the procedure.

Dr Beckett, who has 18 years experience, trained in the technique in Aintree, Liverpool.

He said: “It is a procedure which is lower risk for the patient and can be done as a day case. it takes about an hour-and-a-half for a big stone and because it is not comfortable for the patient it is done under general anaesthetic.

“The first procedure went very well and we crushed a big stone nicely. hopefully the patient won’t have to come back again.

“We are talking about doing a couple of cases a months and will start with the backlog of our own patients and will then be happy to take referrals from across Yorkshire.”

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