Enteroscopy in Ocean Springs, MS

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An enteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure in which a long, thin, limber tube or “scope” is placed into your mouth and advanced to the jejunum (the second portion of the small intestine). The scope has a light and a camera at the end, allowing the provider to clearly see the inner portion of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. An enteroscopy may be performed to diagnose the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bleeding, or unusual x-ray results. If it's been suggested you need an enteroscopy, contact our team of knowledgeable GI specialists at Digestive Health Center for more information. Our providers routinely conduct enteroscopy procedures for Ocean Springs, MS individuals and look forward to helping you improve your GI health.

An enteroscopy procedure is most commonly used to identify concerns or disorders in the small intestine. Indications of such abnormalities could involve:

  • Abnormal growths or tumors in the small bowel
  • Concerning x-ray results
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Unexplained diarrhea

To a certain degree, alternative exam options will depend on why the enteroscopy was needed in the first place. In many patients, enteroscopy is the most effective way to evaluate and manage abnormalities in the upper GI tract, especially if they impact the second portion of the small intestine or jejunum. However, an x-ray called the upper GI/small bowel follow-through can also assess your upper GI tract. This is, however, just a diagnostic method. Treating these findings will necessitate an enteroscopy or a surgical procedure.

You will receive instructions from your Digestive Health Center provider about the necessary preparations. Many individuals will likely be allowed to eat normally the day before the procedure. You will be told not to consume anything by mouth after midnight except any medications you take. It is imperative to adhere to the directives provided by our team. There will also be additional information regarding your medications. In many instances, your medications can continue as instructed. However, special instructions will be provided in certain circumstances, especially for individuals who take blood thinners and those with diabetes.

We will ask you to enter the endoscopy facility 1 – 1.5 hours before your enteroscopy procedure. This allows time to fill out patient forms and get prepped for the procedure. We will have you change into a hospital gown. An IV catheter will be placed in your arm to administer sedation. You will be connected to equipment that will allow the providers to keep track of your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level during and after the exam.

Once settled in your exam room, we'll have you lie on your left side on the procedure table. The sedation will then begin. Small amounts are given at a time to ensure you don't have any reaction to the medication and to provide you with just the amount you specifically need. Once an adequate level of sedation is achieved, the endoscope will be gently introduced into the mouth. The scope will be carefully advanced through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. A bit of air is injected through the scope into the GI tract to help the provider see. Any fluid remaining in your upper gastrointestinal tract is suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the results of your procedure, several procedures or treatments can be conducted at the time of the procedure, such as biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. Once we're done, air and any remaining fluid are suctioned out via the scope. The procedure can take 15 – 45 minutes, depending on the findings.

Once the exam is done, you will be transferred to the recovery room to be supervised while the sedation starts to wear off. The amount of sedation given during your exam and your particular reaction to it will dictate how quickly you awaken. Typically, most patients are alert enough to be discharged after about 45 – 60 minutes. You cannot drive for the rest of the day; therefore, you will need to have arrangements made for someone to take you home. We'll instruct you not to work, sign important papers, or perform demanding activities for the rest of the day. Many patients can eat and drink normally after being released from the endoscopy facility; however, specific instructions regarding activity and exercise, medications, and eating will be discussed before discharge.

After your enteroscopy procedure, your Digestive Health Center team will review the procedure results with you. Most individuals have difficulty remembering the exam results because of the effects of the sedation. We recommend, if able, having a family member join you with whom the results can also be discussed. You will also go home with a typed report. You will be informed of any biopsy results in about seven days.

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In general, an enteroscopy is a safe exam. Overall, complications occur in only about 1% of patients. Many problems are not life-threatening; however, if a complication arises, it could warrant a hospital stay and a surgical procedure. Before your exam, we will review a consent form with you. Should any questions or concerns arise, these can be discussed with your provider prior to beginning your enteroscopy.

Reactions associated with the sedation medication can occur. These can include difficulty breathing, heart and blood pressure effects, allergic reactions, and irritation of the vein that received the medication. Bleeding may occur with the removal of polyps, biopsies, and dilating strictures. Again, bleeding, which results in hospitalization or a blood transfusion, is uncommon. A tear or trauma of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine could occur. This may be recognized at the time of the procedure, or it may not become evident until later in the day. In the majority of cases, a perforation will require surgery or hospitalization. This is uncommon, even when biopsies are taken or dilation is performed. It is critical that you call your Ocean Springs, MS provider as soon as symptoms arise after your procedure, such as bleeding, abdominal pain, or fever.

Similar to any other test, an enteroscopy is not without imperfections. There is a minor, accepted risk that irregularities, including cancers, may be undiagnosed during the procedure. It is critical to routinely follow up with your provider and inform them of any new or persistent symptoms.

An enteroscopy is a safe and effective endoscopic procedure used to identify the causes of unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms and review unexpected x-ray results. If you need an enteroscopy, you can rely on our highly trained GI specialists. As a physician-led team of GI providers, Digestive Health Center strives to give you one-of-a-kind patient-centric care to enhance your GI health. To partner with a provider who offers enteroscopy in Ocean Springs, MS, please contact a Digestive Health Center location in your community.

What should I avoid after my enteroscopy?

After an enteroscopy, wait until your doctor gives you permission before eating or drinking anything, and follow any medication instructions closely. Also, steer clear of strenuous physical activities. If you encounter severe abdominal pain, persistent bleeding, or a fever, contact our office immediately.

Who is not a good candidate for enteroscopy?

Enteroscopy may not be appropriate for individuals with specific medical conditions or risk factors that could result in complications. Patients with severe heart or lung disease, uncontrolled bleeding disorders, or recent heart attacks may face increased risks from sedation and the procedure itself. Additionally, individuals with anatomical abnormalities or strictures in the digestive tract might be advised against it. It's essential to talk to your healthcare provider about any existing health conditions or concerns to figure out if enteroscopy is right for you.

How are endoscopy and enteroscopy different?

The main difference between endoscopy and enteroscopy is the portion of the digestive tract they examine. Both procedures use a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope), but endoscopy generally focuses on the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. In contrast, enteroscopy is specifically aimed at the small intestine, which is deeper and more difficult to access within the digestive system. Enteroscopy is often used when other diagnostic tests, such as endoscopy or colonoscopy, have not yielded clear results or when a problem in the small intestine is suspected.

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