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Balloon Endoscopy

The use of upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopes has revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and colon (large intestine). The last remaining frontier in the intestines has been the small intestine. Wireless capsule endoscopy allows physicians to visualize the inside of the intestines from the esophagus through to the colon. However, capsule endoscopy has limitations, the most notable of which is the inability to control the capsule’s passage and to perform therapeutic interventions, such as biopsy and electrocautery. Although capsule endoscopy is likely to remain an essential diagnostic procedure because of its simplicity, the limitations of capsule endoscopy have been overcome by the development of balloon endoscopy, also known as enteroscopy.

What is balloon endoscopy?

There are two types of balloon endoscopy: a single balloon and a double-balloon.

Single balloon endoscopy

For single balloon endoscopy, a 200 cm long flexible, fiberoptic, endoscope (a hose-like tube one centimeter in diameter with a light and a camera on the tip) is fitted with an equally long overture that slides the full length of the endoscope. On the tip of the overtube is a balloon that can be inflated and deflated. The balloon is blown up to anchor the overtube within the intestine. While the overtube is anchored, the endoscope can be advanced further into the small intestine. By withdrawing the overtube, the small intestine can be shortened and straightened to make the passage of the inner endoscope easier. The balloon may then be deflated so that the overtube can be inserted further, and the endoscope advanced again. The endoscope itself is a standard endoscope with working channels that allow the intestine to be inflated with air, rinsed with water, or used to guide biopsy or electrocautery instruments to the tip of the endoscope.

Double balloon endoscopy

For double-balloon endoscopy, similar equipment is used, but a second balloon is located on the tip of the endoscope. Both balloons – the one on the overtube and the one on the endoscope – can be alternatively inflated to anchor the overtube or the endoscope to assist with the passage of the endoscope or overtube, respectively.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER:

By reading this website, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions. The information throughout this medical website is not intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided is intended for general information regarding gastroenterology conditions and services.

If you are interested in finding out more, avoid worrisome self-diagnosis, please contact a Doral Health & Wellness specialist for a personal consultation. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.