Spiral Enteroscopy

Spiral 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 spiral enteroscopy, the procedure involves the use of a special enteroscope, along with an overtube that is fitted with a spiral tip. 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. The spiral tube travels ahead of the scope, telescoping the small bowel over the overtube. The spiral is turned over and over again 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.

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.

*Please note that spiral enteroscopy is currently unavailable in the Austin Area, but is anticipated in 2011.