Double Balloon Enteroscopy

Double-balloon enteroscopy is a technique allowing gastroenterologists to perform therapeutic procedures in the small bowel without invasive surgery. The small bowel has been difficult to access until recently, and treatments to the area have traditionally been surgical. Now, several options to assess and treat the small bowel have emerged.

For double-balloon enteroscopy, the procedure involves the use of a special enteroscope, along with an overtube that is fitted with a balloon. The patient is comfortably sedated on his/her left side, and the enteroscope and overtube are inserted into the mouth, through the esophagus and out the bottom of the stomach into the small bowel. This procedure is also known as push-and-pull enteroscopy because the balloon is inflated ahead of the scope and the small bowel is telescoped back over the overtube while the balloon holds the small bowel in place. The process is repeated over and over until the entire small bowel is visualized.

The benefit of a procedure like this is that the physician can perform treatments without surgery, such as removing polyps, biopsy of a tumor, placing a stent, dilating a stricture or cauterizing an active bleed. Even foreign bodies can be removed this way. Should surgery need to be done, a "tattoo" can be placed for the surgeon to locate the exact site easily.

This procedure may follow a small bowel capsule study, which can locate problems that need local treatment. Patients will need to have a responsible adult take them home from their procedure due to the anesthesia administered during the treatment.