The procedure was developed to treat the small intestine which is approximately 20 feet in length. Prior to the development of balloon assisted enteroscopy, the small intestine was a particularly difficult part of the gastrointestinal tract for gastroenterologists to access.
Balloon assisted enteroscopy can be performed through the upper gastrointestinal tract or through the lower gastrointestinal tract. In therapeutic cases, it may be used as an alternative to surgery.
What to Expect: During the Procedure
Although the procedure can be performed through either end of the gastrointestinal tract, most procedures are performed through the mouth. Going through the rectum is more commonly used to allow access to lesions in the lower part of the small bowel.
Similar to other gastrointestinal endoscopy, balloon assisted enteroscopy typically requires intravenous sedation. The procedures tend to be longer than typical endoscopy and may take 1 to 3 hours.
Balloon assisted enteroscopy advances the endoscope through the small bowel by alternately inflating and deflating balloons, and pleating the small bowel over an insertion tube like a curtain over a rod.
During the procedure, your doctors will record video or take pictures. Doctors may also take tissue samples or fix existing problems.
What can be found?
Balloon assisted enteroscopy is used to detect problems with your small intestine or stomach. Doctors may recommend enteroscopy if you have any of the following:
- high immune cell count
- small bowel tumors
- blocked bowel passages
- intestinal damage from radiation
- abnormal bleeding
- chronic low iron
- unexplained severe diarrhea
- unexplained malnutrition
What happens afterwards?
Following the procedure, you will spend a half hour in recovery where nurses will monitor you. You will be able to rest, and you may be offered something to drink when you are awake. Once you feel awake and alert, you will be allowed to get dressed and go home.
Since you have been sedated, your reflexes will be impaired for the rest of the day. For your safety, you must arrange for transportation home from your procedure.
How to Prepare
It is required that you not eat or drink anything for the six hours prior to this exam. You must also arrange for transportation following your procedure.
Patients who are having a balloon assisted enteroscopy through their rectum will need to complete colonoscopy prep.