Enteroscopy in Denver, CO

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An enteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure in which a long, narrow, bendable scope, or tube, is introduced into the patient's mouth and advanced to the jejunum, the second portion of the small intestine. Our scope has a light and a camera at the end, which allows our GI specialist to examine the interior of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. An enteroscopy may be utilized to establish the reason for GI issues such as abdominal pain, bleeding, or concerning x-ray results. If you have been told you need an enteroscopy, contact our team of board-certified gastroenterologists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists for more information. Our providers routinely perform enteroscopies for Denver, CO patients and look forward to helping you improve your digestive health.

 

An enteroscopy is typically used to distinguish abnormalities or disorders in the small intestine. Indications of such concerns might include:

  • Abnormal tumors or growths in the small intestine
  • Unusual x-ray results
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Unexplained diarrhea

To an extent, other exam options will be dependent on the reason for having to have the enteroscopy procedure in the first place. In many patients, enteroscopy is the wisest way to discover and treat upper GI tract abnormalities, especially if they involve the jejunum (the second portion of the small intestine). However, an x-ray image known as the upper GI/small bowel follow-through can also assess your upper digestive tract. This is, though, only a diagnostic approach. Treating abnormalities will require an enteroscopy and/or a surgical approach.

Before your enteroscopy, you will receive directions from your Denver Digestive Health Specialists gastroenterologist regarding the necessary preparation. A large number of individuals will most likely be cleared to eat like normal on the day leading up to the enteroscopy. You will be required not to take anything by mouth after 12:00 a.m. apart from medications. It is important to adhere to the directive provided by your doctor. There will also be further instructions regarding your medications. In many instances, your medications can continue as usual. However, specific guidelines will be administered in some cases, particularly in those on blood thinners and in people with diabetes.

We will ask you to enter the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your enteroscopy procedure. This ensures you're able to fill out patient forms and prepare. You will be asked to switch into a medical gown. An IV catheter will be started in your arm so that sedation can be administered. We will connect you to a system that will let us keep track of your blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, breathing, oxygen levels, and more while you're in our care.

Once settled in your exam room, we'll have you lie on your left side on our procedure bed. The IV sedation will be started. We will give you small amounts at a time to make sure that you do not react to the sedation and to give you just the amount you need. After the correct amount of sedation is achieved, the endoscope will be carefully inserted into your mouth. We will carefully advance the scope through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. A little bit of air is injected through the scope into your GI tract to help your physician see. Any remaining fluid in the upper gastrointestinal tract is suctioned out through the scope. Based on the findings of your exam, several things can be performed at the time of the procedure, like the removal of polyps, biopsies, and control of bleeding. Once we're done, air and the remaining fluid are removed through the scope. Depending on the findings, the procedure often takes somewhere between 15 – 45 minutes.

Once the exam is done, the patient is taken to a separate recovery room to be monitored while the sedation wears off. The amount of IV sedation given during your enteroscopy and your particular response to the sedation will determine how fast you come to, though most patients are awake enough for discharge after about 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 do strenuous activities for the remaining day. Most patients are fine to eat and drink as they normally would after being released from the endoscopy unit; however, guidelines regarding activity and exercise, medications, and eating will be provided before discharge.

After the enteroscopy exam, your Denver Digestive Health Specialists team will go over the results of your procedure with you. Many individuals have difficulty remembering what they are told after the exam because of the effects of the sedation. It is recommended, if you're able, to bring someone with you who can lend a second pair of ears. You will also go home with a report. You will be given any biopsy results within about one week.

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In general, an enteroscopy is a safe exam. Normally, complications are seen in less than 1% of patients. The majority of issues are not mortal. However, if an issue occurs, it may require a hospital stay and a surgical procedure. Before your exam, we'll ensure you understand all risks before signing the consent form. Should any questions or concerns arise, these can be discussed with your provider prior to beginning the procedure.

Medication reactions due to sedation can occur. These can include difficulty breathing, effects on your heart and blood pressure, allergic reactions, and irritation of the vein that received the medication. Bleeding could result in biopsies, the removal of polyps, and in the dilation of strictures. Again, bleeding, which might require hospitalization or a blood transfusion, is very uncommon. A hole or puncture of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine could happen. This may be recognized at the time of the exam, or it might not become apparent until later in the day. In most cases, a perforation will mean surgery and/or hospitalization. This is an uncommon complication, even when dilation is performed, and biopsies are taken. It is very important that you call our Denver, CO office promptly should symptoms occur after your enteroscopy, like worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

Similar to any other procedure, enteroscopy is not perfect. There is a minor, accepted chance that irregularities, such as malignancies, may be missed during the exam. It is important to follow up with your provider as instructed and inform them of any new or ongoing symptoms.

An enteroscopy is an effective endoscopic method that can identify the cause of unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms and investigate abnormal x-ray results. If you require an enteroscopy exam, you can rely on our highly trained GI providers. As a physician-led team of GI specialists, Denver Digestive Health Specialists endeavors to provide individualized patient-centered care to treat your GI health. To partner with a provider who offers enteroscopy procedures in Denver, CO, please get in touch with a Denver Digestive Health Specialists location near you.

What precautions should I take following my enteroscopy?

After an enteroscopy, it's important to wait until your doctor gives you the go-ahead before eating or drinking anything. Follow any medication instructions provided. Avoid heavy physical activities and contact our office if you experience severe abdominal pain, ongoing bleeding, or a fever.

Who might not be suitable for an enteroscopy?

Enteroscopy might not be advisable for individuals with certain health conditions or factors that increase complication risks. Those with serious heart or lung disease, uncontrolled bleeding disorders, or who have had recent heart attacks may face heightened risks due to sedation and the procedure itself. Additionally, individuals with structural abnormalities or strictures in their digestive tract may be advised against the procedure. It's crucial to discuss any health issues or concerns with your doctor to decide if enteroscopy is the right choice for you.

Is there are a different between an enteroscopy and an endoscopy?

The key difference between an endoscopy and an enteroscopy is the part of the digestive system they examine. Both procedures use a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope), but an endoscopy usually looks at the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Enteroscopy, on the other hand, is used to view the small intestine, which is deeper in the digestive system and harder to reach. Enteroscopy is typically performed when other tests like endoscopy or colonoscopy haven't provided clear results or when an issue in the small intestine is suspected.

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