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Enteroscopy is a diagnostic technique to detect complications in the small intestine and if required further, a biopsy might be done to examine the sample of tissue collected. Enteroscopy is also known as Double Balloon Enteroscopy.

What is the purpose of enteroscopy?

Your doctor is most likely to recommend enteroscopy if you suffer from the following health complications:

  • Unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Inflammatory conditions like irritable bowel disease, celiac disease, Cohn’s disease, etc.
  • Tumours or polyps in bowel, blockage in bowel
  • Chronic and severe diarrhoea
  • Malnutrition and nutrient (iron) deficiency
  • Suspected damage to small intestine from radiation therapy

Therapies that can be performed with balloon assisted enteroscopy are dilation of intestine, removing small tumours and polyps, treatment of bleeding, etc.

How is enteroscopy performed?

There are two types of enteroscopy viz. oral and rectal, performed as per the requirement of the patient.

Oral enteroscopy- A light flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth which is down into the small intestine via throat. A balloon is attached at the end of the scope which helps to acquire a better view of the internal lining of the intestine. Oral enteroscopy is a diagnostic technique for the upper part of the small intestine.

Rectal enteroscopy- It’s also known as colonoscopy. The enteroscope is inserted via the rectum and is reached to the lower section of the small intestine. Your colon will also be examined in this process. On the scope reaches the desired part, the balloon is inflated to obtain a clear view of the internal structures.

How to prepare for the test?

It’s important to let your doctor know if you have a pre existing medical condition like bleeding disorder or allergies to anaesthesia and any other drugs. Make sure your doctor is aware of all the medicines and supplements you are taking. 

Tablets like blood thinners (aspirin), iron pills and NSAIDs are stopped a week before the scheduled date of the test. You doctor might also ask you to not consume any herbal supplements, vitamin C and E, and fish oil a week prior to the test.

You cannot eat any solid food post midnight (the night before test) and

Do not eat any solid food after midnight; one night before the procedure, you can have clear liquids though.

You will be strictly advised not to consume anything (solid and liquid food, both) 4-8 hours before the procedure.

What happens during the test?

In case of oral enteroscopy, doctors use sedative to help the patient relax, while rectal enteroscopy is performed under complete or partial sedation. The patient will not experience any gag reflex or discomfort when the scope is pushed down the throat due to the sedation

If therapeutic techniques are applied and a condition is being treated then general anaesthesia might be given.

Enteroscopy is usually assisted by fluoroscopy

What to expect after the test?

Depending upon the procedure applied, the test might last for 45 minutes to several hours. You will feel little bloated after the test.

The test reports will be evaluated, depending upon which further decision will be taken.

Are there any risks associated with the procedure?

Complications are rare; nonetheless patients should be aware of them. Some of the risks are bleeding and infection in biopsy site, perforation in bowel, and excessive vomiting. 

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 11, 2014

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