Enteroscopy in Illinois

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Enteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure where an extended, thin, flexible tube or “scope” is inserted into your mouth and propelled to the second portion of the small intestine known as the jejunum. The scope has a light and a camera on the end of it which helps the provider see the inner portion of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. An enteroscopy procedure may be suggested to identify the source of gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pain, bleeding, or unusual x-ray results. If you have been told you need an enteroscopy, contact our team of knowledgeable gastroenterologists at GI Alliance of Illinois to learn more about the procedure. Our providers routinely perform enteroscopies for Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Normal, IL, patients and look forward to helping you manage your GI health.

An enteroscopy procedure is most commonly completed to distinguish concerns or disorders in the small bowel. Indications of such conditions might include:

  • Concerning x-ray results
  • Unexplained diarrhea
  • Abnormal growths or tumors in the small bowel
  • Unexplained bleeding

To a certain degree, other exam options will depend on the reason for having to have the enteroscopy procedure in the first place. In a variety of cases, enteroscopy is the wisest method to evaluate and treat upper GI tract abnormalities, particularly if they concern the second portion of the small intestine or jejunum. However, the x-ray referred to as an upper GI/small bowel follow-through can assess the upper GI tract, as well. This is, however, only a diagnostic exam. Treatment of abnormalities will necessitate an enteroscopy or a surgical procedure.

Prior to your enteroscopy, you will get orders from your GI Alliance of Illinois GI specialist with essential preparation instructions. Most individuals will be allowed to eat normally the day prior to their enteroscopy but are required not to eat or drink anything after midnight apart from medications. It is imperative to adhere to the guidelines given to you by your gastroenterologist. There will also be additional instructions about your medications. In the majority of cases, your medications will be continued per usual. However, in select circumstances, particularly in individuals on anticoagulants and diabetics, specific rules will be provided.

We will ask you to arrive at the endoscopy center about an hour to an hour and a half prior to your endoscopy. This gives you time to fill out any paperwork and get prepared for the procedure. We will have you change into a medical gown and will insert an IV catheter in your arm to begin administering sedation. From there, we'll connect you to our state-of-the-art equipment which will help us keep track of your heart rate, pulse, oxygen levels, and more.

After entering the exam room, we'll have you lie on your left side. The IV will be started and we'll slowly give you sedation to ensure you don't have an unexpected reaction. Once ready, the endoscope will be placed in your mouth and fed through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. We'll inject a bit of air into the endoscope so your GI Alliance of Illinois provider can get a better view of your GI tract. If there is any remaining fluid in the GI tract, it will be removed through the scope. Several procedures can be completed during this time, depending on the findings of the exam, including biopsies, removing polyps, and more. Once we're done, we will remove as much air and fluid as we can through the scope. Generally, the procedure can take between 15 – 45 minutes.

Once your exam is complete, you will be taken to recovery to be monitored as you come out of sedation. This could take more or less time depending on how much sedation you needed, but most people are well enough to be discharged after about 45 – 60 minutes. You will need to make arrangements to have a friend or family member drive you home because you cannot operate a vehicle for the remainder of the day. You should not work, sign important documents, or participate in taxing activities for the rest of the day as well. It is okay to eat and drink normally after being released; however, it's important to follow any post-op instructions we give you about eating, medications, and more.

Once your results are available, our team will review the findings with you. You may have difficulty remembering what we go over, so we suggest you have a trusted person with you to help you remember what was discussed. We will also send you home with written documentation of what we went over.

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Generally, the enteroscopy is a safe and effective procedure. Normally, setbacks happen in fewer than 1 percent of patients. Most issues are not life-threatening, however, if a complication occurs, it may demand hospitalization and surgery. Before your exam, we'll make sure you understand all risks before signing the consent form. Should any questions or concerns arise, these can be gone over with your provider prior to beginning your enteroscopy.

Reactions associated with sedation can happen. These could include difficulty breathing, effects on your heart and blood pressure, allergic reactions, and irritation of the vein that received the medication. Bleeding could occur with removal of polyps, biopsies, and with dilating strictures. Again, significant bleeding, which would result in hospitalization or a blood transfusion, is very uncommon. Perforation or trauma of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine might happen, although unlikely. We might recognize this during the exam, or it might not become evident until hours later. In many cases, this will result in surgery and/or a hospital stay. This is an uncommon complication, even when dilation is performed and biopsies are taken. It is vital that you call our Illinois office promptly should symptoms occur after the procedure like worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

Similar to any other procedure, enteroscopy is not without imperfections. There exists a minimal, acknowledged risk that abnormal conditions, such as malignancies, could be missed during the exam. It is critical to routinely follow up with your provider as advised and let them know of any new issues.

An enteroscopy is a useful endoscopic method for identifying the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms and inspecting atypical x-ray results. If you have been told you require an enteroscopy exam, you can trust our highly trained GI doctors. As a physician-led team of GI specialists, GI Alliance of Illinois strives to deliver personalized patient-centered care to protect your GI health. To find a provider who performs enteroscopy in Illinois, please get in touch with a GI Alliance of Illinois location in your community.

Is there anything I should avoid after my enteroscopy?

Post-enteroscopy, it is crucial to avoid eating or drinking until your healthcare professional gives you the green light. Adhering to any prescribed medication protocols is also essential. Refrain from engaging in vigorous activities until you have had a chance to recover. If you encounter severe stomach pain, ongoing bleeding, or a fever, please contact our team promptly.

Who is not a suitable candidate for an enteroscopy?

Enteroscopy might not be suitable for individuals with specific health issues that escalate the risk of procedure-related complications. Those with severe cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, active disorders affecting blood clotting, or those who have recently had a heart attack might face significant risks from both the sedation and the procedure itself. People with known structural issues or obstructions in their gastrointestinal tract might also be discouraged from undergoing an enteroscopy. It's crucial to review all health conditions and concerns with your healthcare provider to evaluate if an enteroscopy is safe for you.

How does an enteroscopy differ from an endoscopy?

Enteroscopy and endoscopy are both procedures that utilize an endoscope to explore the gastrointestinal tract, but they focus on different sections. An endoscopy primarily examines the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). Enteroscopy, however, is specifically designed to examine further into small intestine, a region that is not typically accessible with standard endoscopy. This procedure is particularly useful when previous diagnostic tools like an endoscopy or colonoscopy do not provide sufficient information or when a specific issue within the small intestine is suspected.

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