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Double Balloon Enteroscopy

Before the ProcedureHow to Prepare | What to Expect On Arrival | What to Expect After | For More Information

A double balloon enteroscopy (DBE) is a procedure that allows for extensive examination and endoscopic treatment of abnormalities found in the small intestine, also called the small bowel, located between the stomach and colon (large intestine). This special instrument relies on alternating balloon inflation/deflation like an accordion to move forward deep within the small intestine. The DBE scope is introduced either via the mouth or colon to best optimize the examination of the area of the small bowel in question.

Your gastroenterologist may recommend a double balloon enteroscopy procedure, if you have recurrent or persistent symptoms including:

  • bleeding
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • anemia

As an advanced procedure, double balloon enteroscopy is typically recommended to further aid in diagnosis and/or treat proven or suspected abnormalities in your small bowel that have been detected on prior diagnostic exams such as capsule endoscopy or radiology imaging studies. Because it is a lengthy procedure that requires anesthesia or heavy sedation, DBE is usually performed only after careful patient selection following consultation with a qualified gastroenterology expert.

Before Double Balloon Enteroscopy

  • Inform your physician of any special needs, medical conditions (such as a defibrillator), latex allergy or current medications you are taking that may require advanced planning prior to undergoing the double balloon enteroscopy procedure.
  • You may require a consultation with the physician performing the DBE to review your medical history, prior endoscopic evaluation, findings on capsule study and radiology imaging to determine whether double balloon enteroscopy is appropriate for you. 

How to Prepare for Double Balloon Enteroscopy

  • No food or liquids (this includes water) after midnight before the exam.
  • If an approach through the colon is recommended by your physician, you will need to undergo a full colon prep similar to preparing for a colonoscopy.
  • You may also have other diet and/or medication restrictions prior to the exam. Please refer to your gastroenterologist’s detailed instructions.
  • Plan to take the day off from work for the exam.
  • Plan to have someone you know drive you home. Since the procedure is usually performed with anesthesia or heavy sedation, you will be instructed to not drive a car or return to work until the next day.
  • The GI Lab staff will attempt to contact you the evening before your procedure to confirm the appointment to answer questions you may have.

What to Expect Once You Arrive for Double Balloon Enteroscopy

  • Plan to arrive 60 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You will have an intravenous line placed, since the procedure is performed with anesthesia or heavy sedation. An anesthesiologist may meet with you to discuss your sedation plan.
  • You will be asked if there is a responsible person to drive you home after the exam.
  • The procedure usually takes about 90 minutes.
  • During the procedure, your physician may take biopsies (small tissue samples), remove polyps or cauterize potentially bleeding sites, inject ink to mark (tattoo) an area of the bowel or perform other therapeutic maneuvers.

What to Expect After Double Balloon Enteroscopy

  • After the procedure is completed, you will recover for about 90 minutes.
  • You may experience a sore throat after the procedure (if the scope is introduced through the mouth).
  • Once you have met the discharge criteria, your gastroenterologist will discuss with you the preliminary findings and provide you with a copy of the exam report.
  • After the recovery period, most patients are able to go home and usually eat right away. Some patients with significant medical problems or who are experiencing a difficult recovery may need to be observed in the hospital overnight after the procedure.
  • Diet and/or medication restrictions may be given to certain patients depending on the findings of the exam.
  • Patients are provided discharge instructions to take home.

For More Information

The double balloon enteroscopy procedure is available at our Skokie Hospital GI Lab location. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an advanced endoscopist, please call 847.570.2030.

NorthShore offers interpretive language services for non-English speaking patients. A request for this no-cost service should be made at the time of appointment scheduling.