Enteroscopy in Washington
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What is an enteroscopy?
An enteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure where a long, thin, bendable tube or “scope” is placed into the mouth and progressed to the second portion of the small intestine, the jejunum. The scope has a camera and light on the end of it, which allows the provider to clearly see the interior of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. An enteroscopy procedure might be utilized to diagnose the cause of GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, bleeding, or unusual x-ray results. If you need an enteroscopy, contact our team of board-certified gastroenterologists at Washington Gastroenterology to learn more. Our providers often perform enteroscopy exams on Washington patients and can provide the care you need to improve your digestive health.
Why would someone need an enteroscopy?
The enteroscopy is most commonly used to diagnose concerns or conditions in the small bowel. Signs or symptoms of such issues might involve:
- Concerning x-ray results
- Unexplained diarrhea
- Abnormal tumors or growths in the small bowel
To an extent, other exam options will depend on the reason for needing an enteroscopy in the first place. In many cases, an enteroscopy is the best way to diagnose and treat abnormalities in the upper GI tract, particularly if they involve the second portion of the small intestine (jejunum). An x-ray called an upper GI/small bowel follow-through can also assess your upper digestive tract. This is, however, only a diagnostic tool. Treating these abnormalities will necessitate an enteroscopy or surgery.
What should I expect the day before my enteroscopy?
Prior to your procedure, you will be given orders from your Washington Gastroenterology GI specialist about the necessary preparations. Many patients will be cleared to eat as usual on the day leading up to the exam. Patients will be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight, aside from medications. It is critical to adhere to the directions given to you by our team. There will also be further instructions about your medications. In the majority of instances, your medications will be continued as usual. However, specific directions may be provided in certain circumstances, especially in patients on anti-coagulants and diabetics.
What happens during my enteroscopy?
We will ask you to arrive at the endoscopy unit 1 – 1.5 hours prior to your enteroscopy procedure. This ensures you can complete paperwork and get prepped for the exam. We will have you change into a hospital gown. An intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed in your arm so that sedation can be given to you. We will connect you to equipment that lets us track your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level while in our care.
Once settled in your exam room, you will be asked to lie on your left side on our procedure bed. The sedation will then begin. Small amounts are given at a time to ensure you don't have a reaction to the sedation and to provide you with just the amount you specifically need. After the right level of sedation is reached, the endoscope will be gently placed into your mouth. We will carefully advance the scope through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. A bit of air will be injected through the scope into your GI tract to help our team see. Any remaining fluid in the upper GI tract is suctioned out through the scope. Based on your exam results, several procedures or treatments can be conducted at the time of the procedure, including removal of polyps, biopsies, and control of bleeding. Once the procedure is complete, as much air and remaining fluid as possible is drawn out through the scope. The exam can take 15 – 45 minutes, depending on the findings.
After the exam, you will be transferred to a separate recovery room to be supervised while you come out of sedation. The amount of IV sedation used during the exam and your individual reaction to the sedation will dictate how quickly you come to, though many patients are awake enough for discharge within 45 – 60 minutes. You cannot drive for the remainder of the day, so you will need to have arrangements made for someone to take you home. You will also be instructed not to work, sign important papers, or perform demanding activities for the remainder of the day. Typically, patients can eat and drink as they usually would following their discharge from the endoscopy center; however, instructions regarding activities, medications, and eating will be given before release.
Following the enteroscopy exam, your Washington Gastroenterology team will review the outcome of the exam with you. Many individuals have difficulty remembering what they are told after the exam because of the effects of the medication. If you're able, it is recommended to have a family member join you with whom the results can also be discussed. We will also send you home with a typed report. You will be provided with any biopsy results within about seven days.
Is an enteroscopy risky?
Generally, an enteroscopy is a very safe procedure. Overall, complications are seen in less than 1% of patients. Most issues are not fatal; however, if a complication occurs, it could require hospitalization and a surgical procedure. Before your exam, the nursing staff will review a consent form with you. If you have any questions or concerns, these can be discussed with your provider prior to beginning the procedure.
Medication reactions associated with sedation might occur. These can include (but are not limited to) allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, effects on the heart and blood pressure, and irritation of the vein used to give the medication. Bleeding may happen with the removal of polyps, biopsies, and dilating strictures. Again, bleeding, which results in hospitalization or a blood transfusion, is uncommon. A tear or trauma of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine could happen. This might be noticed during the procedure or might not be evident until hours later. In most cases, this will require surgery and/or a hospital stay. This is an uncommon complication, even when biopsies are taken or dilation is performed. It is imperative that you contact your Washington provider promptly should symptoms occur after your enteroscopy, such as bleeding, abdominal pain, or fever.
Like any other test, an enteroscopy is not without imperfections. There is a minor, acknowledged risk that abnormal concerns, such as cancers, can be undetected throughout the exam. It is crucial to follow up with your provider as instructed and keep them informed of any new or ongoing symptoms.
Advanced options for better GI health
An enteroscopy is a useful endoscopic method used to identify the causes of gastrointestinal symptoms and examine unexpected x-ray results. If you require an enteroscopy exam, you can count on our experienced specialists. As a physician-led group of GI specialists, Washington Gastroenterology aims to provide individualized patient-focused care to treat your gastrointestinal health. To find a provider who offers enteroscopy procedures in Washington, please contact a Washington Gastroenterology location near you.
Great staff as always! The staff and Dr. Manam make an unpleasant procedure painless and quick. I truly appreciate all of them!
I have been seeing Dr. Schwartz for many years. He is the BEST! I would not know what to do if I couldn't see him anymore. He is very caring, and considers your entire health. He communicates well. He has guided me through several surgeries and procedures with outstanding results. I can't recommend him highly enough!
Dr Mohan has been my Gastroenterologist for the past 15 years. He continues to help me manage a long term chronic condition.
Dr. Ojeaburu has been my doctor for about the last 10 years. He has always been very good to provide answers to questions, he has a very nice bedside manor and does a good job!
The staff was professional, friendly and courteous throught the entire process.