What is a balloon enteroscopy?
A balloon endoscope is a 200-cm., flexible fiber optic endoscope. The endoscope is exactly the same as a regular endoscope except for its length. To perform the procedure, the scope is fitted with an over-tube that has a balloon at its tip. When the balloon is inflated, it allows the over-tube to anchor itself to the intestine. The enteroscopy can then be advanced into the small intestine.
Withdrawing the over-tube allows the small intestine to be shortened or straightened so that the enteroscopy can examine the entire small intestine. A second scope called the double balloon enteroscopy uses the same technique, but a second balloon is placed on the tip of the scope itself.
Why is a balloon enteroscopy performed?
The traditional endoscope is not able to completely examine the small intestine. It is only able to reach into the beginning of the small intestine. Many sources of GI bleeding emanate in the small bowel. As such, the use of the balloon enteroscopy makes it possible for the gastroenterologist to treat bleeding and other disorders of the small bowel.