Atrium Health Navicent Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Cellvizio Endomicroscopy

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Cellvizio Endomicroscopy: A Microscopic View

Scientists in the medical field are always looking for better ways--faster, more exact, and less invasive--to diagnose and treat diseases, and gastroenterology is no exception. One of the most recent advances in gastroenterology, Cellvizio endomicroscopy, can improve the experience of a gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy for patients and doctors alike by allowing doctors to view tissues at the cellular level during an endoscopy.

What Is Cellvizio Endomicroscopy?

Cellvizio endomicroscopy is a mouthful, but try breaking the words into parts: cell vizio endo microscopy. Think of vizio as visualize, and remember that endo means inside or within, and you have cell-visualizing inside-microscope. Cellvizio is a microscope so tiny that it can be used inside your body. To understand why this is an improvement, let us look at the traditional endoscopic procedure.

Traditional Endoscopy

In a typical upper GI endoscopic procedure, a tiny flexible tube equipped with camera, light, and forceps is inserted gently through the mouth and into the digestive tract while the patient is sedated. The doctor guides the endoscope, using a monitor, to view the tissues of the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine. A variation of this is the colonoscopy, which views the large intestine using an endoscope inserted into the rectum.

During the endoscopic procedure, the doctor can use the forceps to get a biopsy, a tiny piece of tissue for examination under a microscope. Looking at the cells of the tissue can identify cell damage, cancerous cells, autoimmune disease, H. pylori bacteria, and signs of infection, among other things. Biopsies can be an important part of the investigation into your gastrointestinal symptoms.

After the gastrointestinal endoscopy is complete, the tissue is typically sent to a lab and is examined by a pathologist, a physician who specializes in identifying diseases at the cellular level. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to get the biopsy results, depending on how many biopsies are taken and how involved the testing is. The waiting is the worst part, according to many patients, especially when cancer is suspected.

Cellvizio Endomicroscopy: Microscopic Examination in Real Time

Cellvizio endomicroscopy eliminates much of the waiting. Cellvizio is the world's tiniest microscope, so small that it can be attached to the endoscope. It allows doctors, when they see suspicious areas of tissue, to view the actual cells during the procedure. It can eliminate the need for biopsies, in some cases. For example, your doctor can determine whether a polyp is cancerous or benign in real time, during the endoscopy. Using a microscope during the procedure can help your doctor better diagnose and treat your condition--without the wait.

If you are scheduled for an endoscopic procedure to examine your gastrointestinal tract, your doctor can help you determine what is best for your specific situation. In some cases, microscopic examination of tissues may not be needed, but if it is, Cellvizio endomicroscopy can enable faster diagnosis and treatment, to help you get better as soon as possible.