Balloon assisted enteroscopy (BAE) using the single balloon enteroscope is a technique whereby a specialised endoscope can be advanced deep into the small intestine via an antegrade (forward) approach from the mouth, or a retrograde (backward) approach through the anus.
When diseases of the small intestine are identified, BAE facilitates both visualisation and treatment of such abnormalities, which have previously not been within the reach of the standard endoscopes (gastroscopy and colonoscopy). Abnormalities in the small bowel can be identified on imaging such as CT or MRI, or using video capsule endoscopy (Pillcam).
The technique requires highly specialised training – BAE involves advancing the scope deep into the intestine by alternate inflation and deflation of balloons to pleat the small intestine over the scope, somewhat like pulling a curtain along the curtain rod.
Abnormalities that can be addressed using SBE include bleeding lesions, polyps or tumours in the small bowel, or assessment and dilatation (stretching) of strictures (narrowings) in the intestine from diseases such as Crohn’s or following surgery. This instrument can also be used to reach the bile duct in patients who have had prior pancreatic or liver surgery (device assisted ERCP).
The preparation is the same as gastroscopy for an antegrade BAE, or colonoscopy for retrograde BAE – bowel preparation will be required for the latter. The risks are very low, similar to these routine procedures. Specific risks that may relate to individual cases will be further discussed during your consultation with our team.
You will receive sedatives so you won’t be allowed to drive after the procedure until the next day, even if you don’t feel tired. You should arrange for a ride home. You must have someone stay with you at home after the examination as the sedatives could affect your judgment and reflexes for 24 hours.
The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. If you would like to know if a balloon assisted enteroscopy is appropriate for your situation, please contact Sydney Gastroenterology & Liver Group.
For appointments and enquiries, please phone 02 9480 6210
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