What is a Balloon-Assisted Enteroscopy?

Balloon-assisted enteroscopy is a procedure that uses a thin, flexible tube attached with a camera, known as an enteroscope, to examine the GI tract. Your gastroenterologist will use one of two enteroscopy systems:

  • Double-Balloon Enteroscopy (DBE) system
  • Single- Balloon Enteroscopy (SBE) system 

The balloon-assisted technique guides the endoscope through the small bowel by inflating and deflating a balloon to compress the walls of the GI tract, which allows the small bowel to be shortened for more visibility.

Why Choose Gastro Health?

Double-Balloon enteroscopy is an advanced form of enteroscopy that allows for a deep exploration of the small bowel. Gastro Health is proud to provide this highly specialized service to our patients. 

Benefits & Risks

Your gastroenterologist may recommend balloon-assisted enteroscopy for conditions that affect both the upper and lower GI tract. This technique may allow your gastroenterologist to:

  • Identify and treat GI bleeding
  • Take tissue samples
  • Remove small bowel polyps or foreign object(s)
  • Enlarge a stricture in the upper or lower GI tract

Balloon enteroscopy is a safe procedure, but complications are possible as with any procedure. Similar to that of colonoscopy and upper endoscopy (EGD), risks include bleeding, perforation, and complications of sedation. Less common risks include ileus (transient slowing of the bowel) and pancreatitis, which occur in less than one percent of procedures.

What to Expect

Before your scheduled enteroscopy, you will be given specific prep instructions that you must follow. Failure to properly complete the prep will likely result in the inability to complete your procedure. Instructions may include fasting, diet and medication restrictions, and bowel preparation to clear out the colon.

Balloon-assisted enteroscopy may require several hours, depending on the therapy required. Before the procedure, anesthesiology will give you medication through a vein to make you comfortable. Most procedures are performed through the mouth (antegrade), although the retrograde approach, through the rectum, may allow better access to lesions in the lower part of the small bowel. 

As the balloon inflates and deflates, the walls of the small bowel pleat together over the outer tube of the endoscope and shorten. In rare cases, an X-ray may be employed during the procedure. If something abnormal is found, the physician may take a biopsy specimen or may use medication or heat treatment to stop any bleeding. 

Because air is introduced during the procedure, you may feel some bloating, gas, or cramping afterward. Your throat may also feel scratchy or sore, but this feeling subsides quickly. Your physician will discuss your results with you before your departure. Balloon-assisted enteroscopy generally requires some anesthesia, which may make patients feel a bit woozy. Under these circumstances, patients are required to have a licensed driver take them back home.