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Small Bowel Enteroscopy

What is a small bowel enteroscopy ?

A small bowel enteroscopy allows a physician to navigate the entire small bowel from either an oral or rectal approach, enabling them to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic techniques within the small bowel without the need of an open surgical procedure.

Doctors use a special endoscope that, when inflated with air, can expand sections of the small intestine to enable the camera to get a closer view. It is generally used for investigating suspected small intestinal bleeding in persons with objective evidence of recurrent, obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (e.g., iron-deficiency anemia, positive fecal occult blood test or visible bleeding), who have had upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopies that have failed to identify a bleeding source. It also is used for initial diagnosis in persons suspected to have Crohn’s disease (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, elevated white blood cell count, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, weight loss or bleeding) and for treating patients with gastrointestinal bleeding when the small intestine has been identified as the source of bleeding.

How do you prepare for a small bowel enteroscopy?

An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 12 hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting.

Speak with your doctor in advance about any medications or supplements you take, including iron, aspirin, bismuth subsalicylate products (e.g., Pepto-Bismol®) and other “over-the-counter” medications. You might need to adjust your usual dose prior to the examination.

What should you expect on the day of your small bowel enteroscopy?

After you check in, one of our nurses will meet with you to review your medical conditions and medications. An IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will proceed to the procedure room, where your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen level will be carefully monitored. A sedative will also be administered through your IV, and you may need general anesthesia.

The test itself usually takes about an hour to two hours. After the test, you will rest until the effects of the medicine wear off.

You will not be able to drive following the procedure, so plan on having someone with you to take you home. Before leaving, our staff will speak with you about the preliminary results of your test and will let you know when you can go back to eating your regular diet.