If bleeding, inflammation, or other conditions occur in the small intestine that require examination, the gastroenterologist may use an enteroscope to access the area. An enteroscope is a longer, 6 1/2-foot variation of an endoscope – a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera that is closer to four feet long. This procedure, called a small bowel enteroscopy, enables the gastroenterologist to access and examine more of the small intestine.
This diagnostic procedure will help the doctor determine the cause and treatment for the condition. It can be performed in one of the following ways:
- A push enteroscopy – This approach examines the upper portion of the small intestine. The gastroenterologist passes the tube down the patient’s esophagus through the mouth, then through the stomach, and into the small intestine. Air passing through the tube helps expand narrow areas for viewing.
- A balloon enteroscopy – Designed to enable the gastroenterologist to see the entire length of small intestine, this procedure uses one or more small balloons to help widen the narrow areas so the endoscope camera can enter more easily and capture clearer images. The endoscope accesses the small intestine from either the patient’s mouth (esophagus), the colon, or both.
A small sample of tissue may be taken during either of these procedures to be biopsied.
The patient will likely be sedated for this procedure and therefore will need to arrange a ride home. Fasting, including liquids, will be required for a least a few hours beforehand (the doctor will advise on the length of time). The patient should bring a complete list of current medications. If the procedure is performed through the rectum, the patient will need to undergo a bowel prep procedure similar to that of a colonoscopy. The doctor will provide instructions.
Conditions diagnosed by this procedure: