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Enteroscopy

Small bowel biopsy; Push enteroscopy; Double-balloon enteroscopy; Capsule enteroscopy

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

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Small intestine biopsy

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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) or clopidogrel (Plavix), 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 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:

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:

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

Risks

Complications are rare but may include:

Considerations

Factors that prohibit use of this test may include:

The greatest risk is bleeding. Signs include:

Related Information

Radiation enteritis
Swollen lymph nodes
Celiac disease - sprue
Valley fever
Folic acid in diet
Vitamin B12
Giardia infection
Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
Crohn disease
Lymphadenitis
Hodgkin lymphoma
Tropical sprue
Whipple disease
Lactose intolerance

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.

Kovacs TO, Jensen DM. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 135.

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.

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Review Date: 10/26/2017  

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.

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