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Enteroscopy

Push enteroscopy; Double-balloon enteroscopy; Capsule enteroscopy

Enteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the small intestine (small bowel).

How the Test is Performed

A thin, flexible tube (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth 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 section of the small intestine.

In a colonoscopy, a flexible tube is inserted through your rectum and colon. The tube can most often reach into the end part of the small intestine (ileum). Capsule endoscopy is done with a disposable capsule that you swallow.

Tissue samples removed during enteroscopy are sent to the lab for examination. (Biopsies cannot be taken with a capsule endoscopy.)

How to Prepare for the Test

Do not take products containing aspirin for 1 week before the procedure. Tell your health care provider if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or apixaban (Eliquis) because these may interfere with the test. Do NOT stop taking any medicine unless told to do so by your 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.

How the Test will Feel

You will be given calming and sedating medicine for the procedure and will not feel any discomfort. You may have some bloating or cramping when you wake up. This is from air that is pumped into the abdomen to expand the area during the procedure.

A capsule endoscopy causes no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

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

Normal Results

In a normal test result, the provider will not find sources of bleeding in the small bowel, and will not find any tumors or other abnormal tissue.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Signs 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)
  • Abnormal lengthening of blood vessels (angioectasis) in the intestinal lining
  • Immune cells called PAS-positive macrophages
  • Polyps or cancer
  • Radiation enteritis
  • Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels
  • Ulcers

Changes found on enteroscopy may be signs of disorders and conditions, including:

Risks

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
  • The capsule endoscope can cause a blockage in a narrowed intestine with symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating

Considerations

Factors that prohibit use of this test may include:

  • Uncooperative or confused person
  • 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:

References

Barth B, Troendle D. Capsule endoscopy and small bowel enteroscopy. In: Wyllie R, Hyams JS, Kay M, eds. Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 63.

Marcinkowski P, Fichera A. Management of lower gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:341-347.

Vargo JJ. Preparation for and complications of GI endoscopy. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 41.

Waterman M, Zurad EG, Gralnek IM. Video capsule endoscopy. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 93.

    • Small intestine biopsy

      Small intestine biopsy - illustration

      Small bowel biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a portion of the small bowel lining is removed for examination. A flexible fiberoptic tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth or nose and into the upper gastrointestinal tract where a tissue sample is removed. This test is most often performed to help diagnose diseases of the small intestines.

      Small intestine biopsy

      illustration

    • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

      Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) - illustration

      Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a test procedure to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. The procedure uses an endoscope. This is a flexible tube with a light and camera at the end. A biopsy can be taken through the endoscope of any suspicious areas that are seen.

      Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

      illustration

    • Capsule endoscopy

      Capsule endoscopy - illustration

      Capsule endoscopy is a test procedure in which a camera inside a small capsule takes pictures of the lining of your digestive system. The capsule is about the size of a large vitamin pill. After swallowing it, the capsule travels the length of your digestive system and transmits images to a wearable recorder.

      Capsule endoscopy

      illustration

      • Small intestine biopsy

        Small intestine biopsy - illustration

        Small bowel biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a portion of the small bowel lining is removed for examination. A flexible fiberoptic tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth or nose and into the upper gastrointestinal tract where a tissue sample is removed. This test is most often performed to help diagnose diseases of the small intestines.

        Small intestine biopsy

        illustration

      • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

        Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) - illustration

        Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a test procedure to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. The procedure uses an endoscope. This is a flexible tube with a light and camera at the end. A biopsy can be taken through the endoscope of any suspicious areas that are seen.

        Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

        illustration

      • Capsule endoscopy

        Capsule endoscopy - illustration

        Capsule endoscopy is a test procedure in which a camera inside a small capsule takes pictures of the lining of your digestive system. The capsule is about the size of a large vitamin pill. After swallowing it, the capsule travels the length of your digestive system and transmits images to a wearable recorder.

        Capsule endoscopy

        illustration

      Tests for Enteroscopy

       

      Review Date: 10/17/2019

      Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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