Double-balloon enteroscopy is an endoscopic technique for visualization of the small bowel. It is the first endoscopic technique that allows for the entire gastrointestinal tract to be visualized in real time. It enables the doctor to visualize the entire small intestine, remove tissue for biopsy, remove small tumours and abnormal growths e.g. polyps; treat bleeding problems, and to dilate strictures.

How are you prepared?

Dr Gregor Brown will give you specific instructions on how you will prepare for the procedure. People with diabetes, heart-valve disease, pacemakers or on aspirin, clopidogrel or warfarin may require special arrangements which should be discussed with Dr Brown.

What Happens?

The DBE endoscope is a small flexible tube, with the same diameter as a pencil. It has a lens and a light source that allows the doctor to get high quality video images of the lining of the intestine. The image on the TV monitor is magnified many times so the doctor can see minute changes in the tissue.

The endoscope contains channels that allow the doctor to obtain biopsies (small pieces of tissue), remove polyps, treat any bleeding and introduce or withdraw fluid or air. Neither of these hurt since the lining of the intestine does not have that type of pain sensation.

The double-balloon enteroscope can also be passed in retrograde fashion, through the colon and into the ileum to visualize the end of the small bowel.