Balloon Enteroscopy

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Single- or double-balloon enteroscopy allows your physician to evaluate and treat diseases by inflating a tiny balloon to through the gastrointestinal tract to gradually progress farther into the narrow, but very long, small intestine.

This outpatient procedure is performed while you are sedated. It’s typically helpful diagnosing and treating small intestine bleeding, strictures (narrowing), polyps, inflammation or tumors.

The small intestine’s natural inclination to contract, as well as its length (about 22 feet typically), had meant that much of it was previously inaccessible by endoscopes. Often, conventional surgery was the only way to reach the deepest parts of the small intestine.

Innovations using one or two balloons to anchor, then gradually advance the endoscope provide a way to reach and treat deep recesses of the small intestine.

Single balloon enteroscopy is often sufficient, but some patients may need the double-balloon enteroscopy. With both techniques, the small intestine is gently pulled closer to the endoscope. Balloons are inflated and deflated in a stepwise fashion not unlike how you might push a curtain rod through the top of a curtain: Gather the fabric, then periodically advance the curtain rod farther along.

Balloon enteroscopy can be performed either by entering the body through the mouth or the rectum.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologists at Norton Healthcare Gastroenterology have used single- and double-balloon enteroscopy to diagnose and treat many small intestine conditions for years.

Preparing for Balloon Enteroscopy

Your physician will provide you with instructions you will need to follow in the days before your procedure. Following these instructions is essential to limit surgery risks and provide the best results.

Make sure your providers are aware of all medications that you are taking, especially the following:

  • Plavix (clopidogrel)
  • Effient (prasugrel)
  • Brilinta (ticagrelor)
  • Ticlid (ticlopidine)
  • Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Eliquis (apixaban)
  • Aggrenox (aspirin/dipyridamole)
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran)
  • Persantine (dipyridamole)
  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)

We will advise you to discontinue or adjust your dosage of these medications. We may have you consult with your primary care physician or cardiologist prior to your procedure. Also let us know of any allergies to medications.

If you are using insulin, the dosage or timing will also need to be adjusted the day of the procedure.

Do not eat anything after midnight before your procedure is scheduled.

For balloon enteroscopy through the rectum, your cleansing routine or prep will start the day before your procedure. This laxative will prepare your bowels and is the most important part of your preparation. Following the instructions and having a good cleanse can decrease the need for an earlier repeat colonoscopy.

Because of heavy sedation, during the procedure, patients are instructed not to drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions for 24 hours. The nursing staff will review all of the instructions before you leave the hospital. You’ll need someone to drive you home.

Contact your physician’s office if you notice severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, excessive rectal bleeding or black stools.

If you are unable to keep your appointment or need to reschedule, call our office at (502) 896-4711 at least 48 hours prior to your procedure.

If you are going to be late for your procedure, call the hospital’s endoscopy department. If you are scheduled at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, call (502) 893-1277. If you are scheduled at Norton Brownsboro Hospital, call (502) 446-8200.

About Norton Healthcare Gastroenterology

  • Norton Cancer Institute has nine outpatient locations and multiple infusion centers in Louisville and surrounding counties and Southern Indiana. We have three radiation centers located just off major interstates, with free, self-service parking and valet parking.
  • Our gastrointestinal cancer patient navigator guides you through the treatment process. The navigator is a registered nurse and advocate for patients and families who can help coordinate scheduling to minimize your visits. The navigator provides information and support throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
  • The Norton Cancer Institute multidisciplinary approach to cancer care means you’ll have access to multiple specialists, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, interventional gastroenterologists, researchers, geneticists and dietitians.
  • We pull together providers from various disciplines to help identify the best treatment for you. At Norton Cancer Institute review boards, you will be considered for innovative clinical trials, immunotherapy, minimally invasive procedures, state-of-the-art radiation and advanced diagnostics.

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