Procedure Questions

What is SpyGlass®?

SpyGlass is an endoscopic procedure which provides your doctor a direct visualization of the bile ducts.

Procedure Bullet Points


  • Is well-tolerated
  • May be performed as an outpatient procedure
  • May require a local anesthetic
  • May require sedation if it is expected to be lengthy

SpyGlass® uses a small camera attached to a probe, which is inserted into the mouth and down the esophagus like a traditional endoscopy.

The small size of the camera allows the probe freedom to move into places that are normally impossible to directly visualize, like inside of the bile ducts.

Your doctor may recommend SpyGlass® to treat and diagnose things like:

  • gallstones
  • pseudocysts
  • inflammation
  • infection
  • unexplained scarring and strictures of the bile ducts

Your doctor will give you instructions to prepare for the procedure. You may be asked to fast for at least 6 hours beforehand to ensure an empty stomach. Some patients are also given antibiotics in preparation.

Inform your doctor of:

  • Any medication that you take regularly, especially;
    • aspirin products
    • arthritis medications
    • blood thinners (such as warfarin or heparin)
    • clopidogrel
    • insulin
  • Any known allergies to medication
  • Any known allergies to dye
  • Any medical conditions that will require special attention, such as;
    • heart conditions
    • lung conditions
    • any other major conditions

You’ll need to plan for ride home from the office as it is not advised for patients to drive for the remainder of the day due to effects from the medication.
It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

You will lie on your abdomen during the procedure. It isn’t painful, but you might feel some bloating because of air introduced by the instrument.

Complications can occur, but are uncommon. They can include:

  • pancreatitis
  • infections
  • bowel perforation and bleeding
  • an adverse reaction to sedatives

Risks vary on a patient-by-patient basis. They can depend on what is found during the procedure, whether therapeutic intervention is undertaken, and whether a patient has other major medical problems.

You’ll be observed for complications until the effects from any medications wear off. Then you’ll be allowed to leave with your accompanying ride.

It’s important not to drive as the medications may still affect your judgement and reflexes, even if you feel alert.

Once home, you may feel some bloating because of excess air and you can resume your normal diet, unless otherwise instructed.

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