Procedure, Preparation & Complications of Double Balloon Endoscopy

Submitted by Nic on October 16, 2012

Gastrointestinal endoscopy has totally changed the way diseases of stomach and intestinal tract can be diagnosed and treated. Currently, there are two types of balloon endoscopy used to analyze the large and small intestines – single balloon endoscopy and double balloon endoscopy. Both procedures use an endoscope which is a long thin fiber optic tube that is fitted with a camera and a light at one tip. The endoscope is used to inflate the intestine with air, rinse it with water and guide special instruments used for biopsies and electrocautery if required. Over this tube is another over tube. In a single balloon endoscopy, a balloon is attached to the tip of the over tube and can be inflated and deflated as and when required. Inflating the balloon allows for proper anchoring of the endoscope within the intestine of the person while deflating the balloon makes it easier for the endoscope to advance further into the intestine. In a double balloon endoscopy, the same equipment is used - the only difference being the presence of an additional balloon over the tip of the endoscope. This makes maneuvering the endoscope easier and offers deeper penetration and more accurate evaluation of problems in the small intestine.

A double balloon endoscopy preparation involves fasting for at least six hours before the procedure. The doctor should also be informed of any other medical condition or allergies to any medications if they exist. The double balloon endoscopy procedure may cause some discomfort especially when inserted into the colon. If the endoscopy is performed through the mouth, patients may suffer from a mild sore throat for a few days after the test. A double balloon endoscopy is performed under IV sedation and can take up to three hours to complete. X-rays and images recorded during the procedure will determine whether there is any problem or abnormality present in the gastrointestinal tract. Early detection of such conditions helps significantly in treating these issues effectively.

A double balloon endoscopy is generally performed only if the doctor suspects an abnormality in the small intestine. Being a time consuming procedure, a wireless capsule endoscopy may be performed first and only if the reports indicate some problem will a double balloon endoscopy be carried out. Double balloon endoscopy risks include the possibility of perforation of the stomach, abdominal pain, internal bleeding. Pancreatitis has also been reported in a small number of cases as a possible double balloon endoscopy complication.

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