Enteroscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the small bowel for disease. It is performed with the help of an endoscope, which is a long narrow tube that has a camera and light source attached. Enteroscopy is usually indicated to confirm abnormal results of an X-ray for small intestine tumors, unexplained diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Before the test, you will be instructed to stay on a liquid diet after midnight, on the day of your procedure. This will keep your stomach empty so that your doctor can have a clear view of the intestinal tract. Small bowel enteroscopy is performed on an outpatient basis under sedation. Your doctor passes the endoscope through your mouth, down the esophagus, into the stomach to reach the small bowel (upper gastrointestinal tract). You may feel a little discomfort as the scope advances down the tract. A balloon may sometimes be introduced (double-balloon enteroscopy) and inflated at the desired region for better visibility. The colon is viewed by your surgeon on a large screen to look for any abnormalities. Sometimes, your doctor may collect tissue samples and send it to the laboratory for further analysis. Once the examination is completed, the endoscope is slowly removed.
As with any medical procedure, small bowel enteroscopy may involve certain risks and complications such as bleeding, bowel perforation, infection and vomiting.