Advanced Treatment for Small Intestine Disorders
Double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) offers minimally invasive, advanced endoscopy capabilities that allow for visualization of the entire small bowel. This provides your doctor the ability to examine and treat disorders of the small bowel without the need for surgical intervention. Commonly known as the small intestine, the small bowel is located between the stomach and large intestine, or colon.
The DBE system consists of a high-resolution video endoscope that is inserted through either the mouth or colon to reach the area of concern. Attached to the endoscope are two small balloons, which are alternately inflated and deflated to move the scope through the small bowel. With this technique your doctor can perform biopsies or treat bleeding in the small intestine by passing specialized instruments, such as cautery probes, through a separate tube in the scope.
DBE is performed for the diagnosis or treatment of conditions indicated in the small bowel that may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormalities seen on X-ray or CT/MRI
A DBE procedure is lengthy and requires anesthesia sedation, so it is performed only after thorough evaluation of your specific case and following consultation with a gastroenterologist, surgeon or your internist.
Because you received anesthesia for the procedure, you will be kept in the recovery area and monitored until effects of the medication have diminished. Normal recovery time after DBE is about 60 to 90 minutes. If the procedure was done through the mouth, your throat may feel a little irritated.
Once you are awake and alert, your gastroenterologist will go over the initial findings of the examination with you. Most patients can go home after the recovery period and return to a normal diet the same day. However, you will not be allowed to drive after the procedure, even if you are not feeling tired. Make sure you arrange for a ride home and someone to stay with you after the procedure; you may be feeling the effects of the sedatives you received for the rest of the day. For some patients who have a preexisting medical condition or are having difficulty recovering from the procedure, inpatient observation may be needed.
Like standard endoscopy and colonoscopy, a DBE procedure is generally very safe. While uncommon, possible complications from DBE can include:
- An adverse reaction to the sedative given (While very rare, this is a concern for patients with severe heart or lung disease.)
- Bleeding in the small bowel
- A puncture or tear in the lining of the small intestine
Other rare risks of DBE include ileus (transient slowing of the bowel) and pancreatitis, which occur in less than 1 percent of patients having the procedure. These possible risks must be weighed against the potential benefits of the DBE procedure as well as the risks of alternative treatment options for your condition.