Balloon-assisted enteroscopy is a visual examination of the small bowel using an instrument called an endoscope. The balloon allows the scope to pass further into the small bowel than previously possible. Depending on the type of problem you are having, the scope is inserted into either the mouth (called an upper endoscopy) or the rectum (called a lower endoscopy). The inflated balloons hold onto the sides of the bowel and a tube slides over the scope. This pleating action helps move the scope through the bowel. During this visual examination, your doctor may perform other minor procedures that will benefit you, such as taking a small piece of tissue for biopsy. Please note that biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer.
Having this procedure will assist your doctor in making medical decisions and will also be beneficial in planning your overall medical care. The procedure takes about 2 hours. However, you should expect your visit to last 4 to 5 hours to allow for preparation and recovery time.