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Why is this procedure done?

The doctor uses enteroscopy to look at your stomach, small bowel, and bile duct. These are all part of your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. You may need this test if you have had surgery to change your bowel anatomy, like a gastric bypass.

Doctors often use this test to look for problems like:

  • Very bad loose stools
  • Bleeding in your stomach or small bowel
  • Blockages
  • Stomach pain

What will the results be?

Your doctor may find the problem inside your body that causes your signs. With this procedure, the doctor may also be able to:

  • Stop bleeding
  • Stretch a narrow part of your food pipe
  • Take a tissue sample
  • Remove a growth or blockage

What happens before the procedure?

Your doctor will ask you questions about your health and do an exam. Talk to the doctor about:

  • All the drugs you are taking. Be sure to include all prescription, over the counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Bring a list of drugs you take with you.
  • Tell the doctor if you have any drug allergy.
  • Any bleeding problems. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any drugs that may cause bleeding. Some of these are: Coumadin, Lovenox, or Plavix. Over the counter drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Aleve (naproxen), or aspirin can cause bleeding. Some vitamins and herbs, such as garlic and fish oil, may also add to the risk for bleeding. You may need to stop these drugs for some time before your procedure. Talk to your doctor about them.
  • What kind of diet you need to be on before this procedure. Your doctor may want you to eat a low fiber diet for 2 days before the test and drink more fluids. The day before the test, your doctor may want you to only drink clear liquids. Ask the doctor if you need to stop eating or drinking before your procedure. Ask the doctor if you need to take drugs to clean out your bowels.

You will not be allowed to drive right away after the procedure. Ask a family member or a friend to drive you home.

What happens during the procedure?

Before you leave the test appointment, be sure you understand how to use the device and what information to write down in the diary.

After the procedure

  • Once you are in the procedure area, the staff will put an IV in your arm to give you fluids and drugs. You will be given a drug to make you sleepy. It will also help you stay pain free during the procedure.
  • Your doctor will spray a drug in your throat to numb the area.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side. The staff may give you oxygen in your nose to help you breathe. Your doctor may place a tool in your mouth to keep it open during the procedure. The staff will place a dental suction tool in your mouth to lessen saliva flow.
  • The doctor will put a special scope in your mouth and down your food pipe. It is a long, thin tube with lights and a small camera. It sends images to a screen so the doctor can see inside your bowels. Your doctor will ask you to swallow to help the scope pass through your throat.
  • The doctor may pump gas into your bowels to be able to see them more clearly.
  • Your doctor will use the scope and small tools to see and fix any problems in your upper GI tract. Your doctor may stop an area of bleeding or take out a tumor. The doctor may also remove a growth or take tissue samples for biopsy.
  • This procedure takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

  • You will go to the Recovery Room and the staff will watch you closely.
  • You will be allowed to go home when you are awake and able to eat and drink.
  • You may feel bloated after the procedure. This is from any gas the doctor may have used to help see your GI tract better.
  • You may have a sore throat after the procedure. You can drink fluid once the numbing drugs in your throat wear off.
  • Ask your doctor when the results will be available. Set up a visit to talk about them.

What drugs may be needed?

The doctor may order drugs to:

  • Help with pain
  • Help with upset stomach and throwing up
  • Lessen stomach acid
  • Change how fast food moves through your stomach and small bowel

What problems could happen?

  • Painful swallowing
  • Throwing up
  • Tear in the bowel
  • Bleeding
  • Infection