CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Lasers have revolutionized many medical procedures. Now doctorscan use one to remove gall stones.
The "spyglass laser" wipes out the painful stones.
Every two weeks, Gerry Gianturco suffered from nausea andvomitting.
Gianturco said, "We wondered if I had gall bladder disease, butI didn't have the pain that usually is associated with it."
She went to see Doctor Ramesh Luther of Sisters Hospital, St.Joseph Campus, who discovered a very large gall stone in her bileduct.
In the past, that might have required surgery, but a new device,called spyglass with a tiny camera and a laser can destroy thestone and remove the pieces.
The device was threaded into the bile duct. It was advanceduntil the stone was seen.
Dr. Luther said, "We were able to put the laser probe throughthis, see the stone in the bile duct, with this vision as you seehere, and blast the stone."
There was a burst of laser light, and when it was finished therewere only tiny fragments left.
Dr. Luther said, "With just two blasts of five seconds each, Iwas able to completely disintegrate the stone into hundreds ofpieces."
Gerry was the first patient in western New York to have theprocedure. There have only been about 70 worldwide, and none havehad any complications.
Dr. Luther said, "(The) patient walks in. They do the procedure.They go home as if nothing happened."
Gianturco said, "You just go to sleep and when you wake up it'sall over, and I felt better immediately."
For many patients with gall stone problems, it will be thetechnique of choice.
But, of course, first you have to discover the problem.
Gianturco said, "You've gotta find out what's wrong with you.Can't just wait for it to go away by itself, which is what we tendto do, don't we?"
News 4's Jacquie Walker asked, "She didn't realize she had agall stone problem because she didn't have pain, so how what aresome of the other things that should alert you?
Dr. Peter Ostrow said, "About a quarter of patients don't havethat typical pain. Her problems, nausea and vomiting and loss ofappetite, are also characteristic of biliary tract disease, and soare chills and fever. Sometimes it's discovered on a routine labtest. The thing to do is to see your doctor if you don't feel well,and to have regular check-ups."
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