Double-Balloon Enteroscopy

What is double-balloon enteroscopy?

Double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE)—also known as push-pull enteroscopy—is a procedure that can examine and treat abnormalities in the small intestine between the stomach and the colon (large intestine). It is typically recommended when abnormalities are found during another procedure—such as capsule endoscopy or other imaging studies—following symptoms that include:

  • Anemia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea

How does DBE differ from a capsule endoscopy?

While both procedures allow a physician to see the entirety of the small bowel, during DBE:

  • Tissue samples (biopsies) may be collected along the way for further testing
  • Stents —small tubes to keep vessels or ducts open— are able to be placed or strictures—a narrowing of a vessel or other structure—are able to be widened
  • Everything in the small bowel can be seen up to the terminal ileum, the third and last section of the small bowel

How is the procedure performed?

During the procedure, two tubes (one inside the other) are inserted through the rectum or mouth into the small intestine.

  • The inner tube—which is a scope (endoscope) with a light—is moved through a part of the small intestine and secured in place with an inflated balloon
  • Next, the outer tube is moved through the small intestine until it reaches the end of the inner tube and a second balloon is inflated to secure the outer tube
  • Then, the balloon holding the inner tube is deflated and the tube is moved through another section of the small intestine

These steps are repeated until the tubes have completely made their way through the small intestine. 

Is there any recovery time?

DBE is a same-day, outpatient procedure with no real recovery required. However, since DBE can be done under general anesthesia or through conscious sedation, patients will be unable to drive and will have to coordinate a ride home.

For more information about DBE or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.


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