One of the first steps we take to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease may be a visual examination of the small bowel and/or colon. An upper endoscopy examines your esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and first part of the small intestine. Small bowel endoscopy, also known as deep endoscopy, examines more of the small intestine using balloons, fitted over an endoscope, to access hard-to-reach areas of the small intestine. This test allows your doctor to see, diagnose or treat almost any part of the small bowel.
What is Small Bowel Endoscopy?
Small bowel endoscopy is also known as balloon assisted enteroscopy. In this procedure, a long endoscope in entered into the small intestine for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. This procedure may use a single balloon (single balloon enteroscopy) or two balloons (double balloon enteroscopy). The endoscope is moved 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.
What Happens During a Small Bowel Endoscopy?
During your procedure, you will lie on your side, and the anesthesia department will sedate you for your procedure. Your doctor will pass the enteroscope through your mouth, esophagus, stomach and deep into the small intestine.
Other Advanced Endoscopic Techniques at Penn State IBD Center
In addition to upper endoscopies, our doctors use a wide array of endoscopic techniques to diagnose and treat IBD, including:
- A sigmoidoscopy examines the lower third of your large intestine
- A colonoscopy examines your entire colon, sometimes including the very end of the small intestine
- Video capsule endoscopy allows us to examine difficult-to-reach tumors within the small intestine with a pill-size camera that takes pictures as it moves through your digestive tract
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a minimally invasive procedure, using an endoscope, to completely removal of a polyp or other growth anywhere within the digestive system. EMR can often spare a patient from a major surgical procedure
How to Prepare for Your Endoscopy
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy appointment. Your doctor may ask you to:
- Fast, with no food or drink before your endoscopy so your stomach is empty for the procedure.
- Stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your endoscopy because they may increase your risk of bleeding
If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.