Enteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the small intestine (small bowel).
Small bowel biopsy; Push enteroscopy; Double-balloon enteroscopy; Capsule enteroscopy; Sonde enteroscopy
A thin, flexible tube (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth or nose and into the upper gastrointestinal tract. During a double-balloon enteroscopy, balloons attached to the endoscope can be inflated to allow the doctor to view a large part of the small intestine.
In a colonoscopy, a flexible tube is inserted through your rectum and colon. The tube usually can reach into the end part of the small intestine (ileum). See also: Colonoscopy
Tissue samples removed during enteroscopy are sent to the laboratory for examination.
Do not take products containing aspirin for 1 week before the procedure. Tell your doctor if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix), because these may interfere with the test. Do NOT stop taking any medication unless told to do so by your health care provider.
Do not eat any solid foods or milk products after midnight the day of your procedure. You may have clear liquids until 4 hours before your exam.
You must sign a consent form.
When the tube is put into your mouth and down your esophagus (food pipe), you may feel like gagging. You will get a numbing medicine to reduce this feeling.
You may get a mild sedative, but only in small doses because you must stay alert enough to help with the procedure (by doing such things as swallowing and turning). The biopsy sampling causes little or no pain, although you may have some mild cramping.
This test is most often performed to help diagnose diseases of the small intestines. It may be done if you have:
- Abnormal x-ray results
- Tumors in the small intestines
- Unexplained diarrhea
- Unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding
In a normal test result, the health care provider will not find sources of bleeding in the small bowel, and will not find any tumors or other abnormal tissue.
Abnormal findings may include:
- Abnormalities of the tissue lining the small intestine (mucosa) or the tiny, finger-like projections on the surface of the small intestine (villi)
- Immune cells called PAS-positive macrophages
Polyps or cancer
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels
Changes found on enteroscopy may be signs of disorders and conditions including:
Complications are rare but may include:
- Excessive bleeding from the biopsy site
- Hole in the bowel (bowel perforation)
- Infection of the biopsy site leading to bacteremia
- Vomiting, followed by aspiration into the lungs
Factors that prohibit use of this test may include:
- Uncooperative or confused patients
- Untreated blood clotting (coagulation) disorders
- Use of aspirin or other medicines that prevent the blood from clotting normally (anticoagulants)
The greatest risk is bleeding. Signs include:
Bjorkman DJ. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage and occult gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 137.
Sidhu R, Sanders DS, Morris AJ, McAlindon ME. Guidelines on small bowel enteroscopy and capsule endoscopy in adults. Gut. 2008;57:125-136.
Review Date: 1/20/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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