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Now available to

all pregnant moms


provides a safe way

for obstetricians to determine if there are chromosome

abnormalities present in a developing baby. This form of

testing, also called cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening, is

available at each Shannon OB-GYN office.


This screening blood test is done after

10 weeks of pregnancy. For the test, DNA from the baby

is extracted from a maternal blood sample and tested

for the presence of several specific chromosome prob-

lems, such as Down syndrome. The test also identifies

the baby’s sex.

Your obstetrician may recommend noninvasive fetal

testing for several reasons:


You have certain risk factors for having a baby with

a chromosomal condition, including maternal age past

35 or if you have previously given birth to a baby with a

chromosomal condition.


If you are the carrier of an X-linked recessive disorder,

such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or hemophilia,

knowing the sex of the baby is important and can be

determined earlier than with an ultrasound.

Until recently, the test was only offered to high-risk

women, but now it is frequently offered to all pregnant

women who start prenatal care early in pregnancy. Early

prenatal care is important.

This type of prenatal screening poses no physical risks

for you or your baby. There are some limitations to the

testing, and your doctor will determine if this testing

method is appropriate for you and your baby.

For more information, please consult

your Shannon OB provider, or go online to


The SpyGlass®system is used by

Shannon gastroenterologists to

gain access to the hard-to-reach

anatomy of the bile and pancreas

ducts. This technology provides

physicians with easier access

as well as full-color visuals,

better biopsy capability

and laser fragmentation

of stones located in the

pancreas and bile ducts.


New technology keeps care close to home


your doctor uses a light to look in your eyes

and a stethoscope to listen to your heart, but how about a

spyglass? Sure enough, that’s one of the new tools avail-

able at Shannon Medical Center.

Offering diagnosis, treatment and recovery close to

home is part of the Shannon mission. Adopting advanced

medical techniques is helping reach that goal. The Spy-

Glass Direct Visualization System from Boston Scientific

is the latest state-of-the-art technology in use by the gas-

troenterology department at Shannon.


The SpyGlass is used

by Shannon gastroenterologists to examine the bile

and pancreas ducts, where biliary stones and cancers

can occur. The system is equipped with a miniature

6,000-pixel fiber-optic probe. It captures a full-color,

3-D image and can reach into the pancreatico-biliary


Levi Hubble, MD, Shannon Clinic gastroenterologist,

received fellowship training for the SpyGlass device at

Scott & White in Temple, Texas.

“It’s an impressive technology,” Dr. Hubble says. “This

scope allows us to directly examine the bile and pancreas

ducts, which are difficult anatomies to reach in the body.

The bile duct is very tiny—only 3 to 5 millimeters wide.

We can examine bile duct strictures, which is a narrowing

of the ducts, and biopsy and diagnose cancers involving

the bile and pancreas ducts. This is also a tremendously

helpful tool for breaking up bile duct stones.”

Previously, this area was examined using conventional

endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).

Projected onto the screen was a flat image that the physi-

cian would use to determine areas of concern.

If a biopsy was needed, a brush-like device was

used to swab the area of concern. If additional

therapeutic intervention was required, the patient

was referred to a specialist outside of San Angelo

for treatment.


“This technology helped me diagnose

a rare autoimmune cholangitis, which would not have

been possible at our facility prior to using the SpyGlass,”

Dr. Hubble says. “The patient was referred out to ensure

he did not have an underlying mass, but we were able to

send him to a specialist with a firm diagnosis.”

Now, the SpyBite, a forceps attachment, allows for a

small piece of tissue to be taken from the area.

“With this technique, we can eliminate the need to send

patients away for more invasive procedures,” Dr. Hubble

says. “For biopsies, the forceps allows us to look directly

at the area we want to retrieve a sample from, and we can

determine if cancer is present. The capability to biopsy

and reach this part of the anatomy provides a more ad-

equate sample for pathology and also helps us rule out

cancer and other diseases.”

In addition to the fiber-optic probe and forceps, the

SpyGlass features a laser attachment used for laser litho-

tripsy. During this procedure, a pinpointed laser is used

to break up biliary stones, which are gallstones that have

become lodged in the bile ducts.

“These stones can cause agonizing pain and other is-

sues if left untreated,” Dr. Hubble says. “The use of the

laser to break up the stones eliminates the need for an

open duct exploration, which is a major procedure we

would send the patient off for. It is invasive and can also

cause future concern for the patient, including bile duct

strictures, which also requires surgical attention.”


Most procedures involving the Spy-

Glass take one to two hours as an outpatient, day-surgery

procedure and are performed in the operating room at

Shannon Medical Center.

“Any time we can bring a new technology to Shannon

and to our area, that’s a positive for our patients and for

us as physicians,” Dr. Hubble says. “This is a tremendously

helpful tool that allows us to keep patients close to home

while providing them with state-of-the-art care.”

We l l n e s s


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