SOURCE: Lankenau Medical Center

Lankenau Medical Center

November 02, 2011 11:45 ET

World's Smallest Microscope Improves GI Disease Detection and Speeds Treatment at Lankenau Medical Center in Philadelphia

WYNNEWOOD, PA--(Marketwire - Nov 2, 2011) - Lankenau Medical Center physicians who specialize in gastrointestinal disorders are the first in the Philadelphia metropolitan area to use the world's smallest flexible microscope to diagnose gastrointestinal and biliary diseases during regular endoscopy procedures so patients can be treated immediately. This new tool, known as probe-based Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy (pCLE) or "Cellvizio," allows them to view living, moving tissue in real time at the cellular level so they can precisely pinpoint tissue that should be removed or treated.

"Until now, if we found areas that appeared abnormal on endoscopy during one our endoscopic procedures, we would have to send it to a laboratory for analysis which can take up to a week to see what it looked like under the microscope," explained Bob Etemad, MD, Gastroenterologist at Lankenau Medical Center and Medical Director of Endoscopy, Main Line Health System. "This sometimes is a problem when the biopsies do not confirm our suspicions. We may then need to rebiopsy with an additional procedure. The eye is also not as sensitive to detect some subtle but dangerous precancerous changes. With Cellvizio, we have a tool that helps us better identify the dangerous tissue during the initial diagnostic exam, removing it the same day and then going back to ensure we removed it all. We have a lot more information."

Cellvizio allows doctors to more accurately differentiate cancerous and pre-cancerous changes in tissue during colonoscopies, endoscopies, and the standard pancreatic and bile duct cancer detection procedure. The microscope is located at the end of a catheter that is threaded through a traditional endoscope, while the patient is having an endoscopy or a colonoscopy. Cells that are pre-cancerous or cancerous appear as black spots thanks to the administration of intravenous fluorescein. It adds only a few minutes to the standard endoscopic exam and has no additional risks.

Dr. Etemad recently treated Deanne Sherman, a recent retiree who was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, a condition of abnormal precancerous change in the lower esophagus. Originally, Ms. Sherman was told by her physician that she would need her esophagus removed, a large and complex surgery. However, when Ms. Sherman went to Dr. Etemad for a second opinion, she learned that invasive surgery was not necessary. "I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear Dr. Etemad tell me there was another option," said Ms. Sherman. "Since I retired, my husband and I had made many plans to travel and spend time visiting family and friends. After three minimally invasive endoscopy procedures, I am cancer free and ready to live my life."

The team is one of the first in the U.S. to use the new approach, which will be applied to gastrointestinal cancers and other GI diseases, including those of the colon, bile duct, pancreas, and esophagus.

"This new imaging tool gives us the opportunity to immediately see changes in the cells and potentially gain insights of what may be wrong to optimize patient treatment," continued Etemad.

Lankenau Medical Center is one of about 50 centers in the United States using the Cellvizio focal probe. Cellvizio is FDA approved. To contact Lankenau's Gastroenterology Department for more information on our patient services or to schedule a physician appointment, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.

About Lankenau Medical Center
Lankenau Medical Center, a member of Main Line Health in suburban Philadelphia, has been treating patients in the greater Philadelphia area for over 150 years and is dedicated to helping the community stay well ahead on the path to life-long health. As one of the nation's leading heart centers, the 331-bed teaching hospital is located on a campus that also includes the Lankenau Institute of Medical Research, a freestanding biomedical research institute that specializes in cardiac and cancer research. Lankenau Medical Center's nurses are MAGNET®-certified, and the hospital has consistently been recognized as a Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospital by Thomson Reuters. Additionally, Lankenau was named as a HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospital™ for 2009, placing it in the top one percent of all hospitals in the nation for quality outcomes.

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