Enteroscopy in Little Rock, AR

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Enteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure where a long, thin, flexible scope is inserted into your mouth and progressed to the jejunum (the second portion of the small intestine). The scope has a light and a camera on the end of it which helps your provider to clearly see the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. An enteroscopy procedure might be utilized to diagnose the reason for gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, bleeding, or abnormal x-ray results. If it's been suggested you get an enteroscopy, you can contact one of our talented GI doctors at GastroArkansas to learn more about the procedure. Our providers often conduct enteroscopies for Little Rock, AR individuals and offer the care you need to improve your gastrointestinal health.

An enteroscopy procedure is often used to detect concerns or conditions in the small intestine. Signs or symptoms of such issues may involve:

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

To an extent, alternative exam options will depend on the motive for having to undergo the enteroscopy in the first place. In a variety of patients, enteroscopy is the most effective way to evaluate and address upper GI tract abnormalities, especially if they concern the jejunum (the second portion of the small intestine). However, an x-ray image referred to as the upper GI/small bowel follow-through can evaluate your upper gastrointestinal tract, as well. This is, however, just a diagnostic exam. Treating these abnormalities will necessitate an enteroscopy or surgery.

Prior to your enteroscopy, you will receive instructions from your GastroArkansas GI doctor about the needed preparation. A large number of individuals will likely be cleared to eat like normal the day prior to their procedure. You will be told not to eat or drink anything after 12:00 a.m. apart from any medications you take. It is important to adhere to the guidelines provided by our team. There will also be more information regarding your medications. In the majority of cases, your medications can be taken as instructed. However, in some cases, particularly in those on blood thinners and who are diabetic, special rules will be given.

You will need to arrive at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your enteroscopy procedure. This ensures you're able to complete patient forms and prepare for the procedure. You will be asked to switch into a hospital gown. An intravenous (IV) catheter will be inserted in your arm so that sedation can be given to you. We will connect you to equipment that will enable our providers to keep track of your blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, breathing, oxygen levels, and more during and after the exam.

Once in your exam room, you will be asked to lie on your left side on the procedure table. The IV sedation will be started. We'll give it to you in small amounts at a time to verify you don't have a reaction to the medication and to provide only the amount you specifically need. After an adequate amount of sedation is reached, the endoscope will be gradually placed into your mouth. We will carefully advance the scope through your 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 your upper gastrointestinal tract is removed through the scope. Depending on the outcome of your exam, several procedures or treatments can be done at the time of the procedure, such as removal of polyps, biopsies, and control of bleeding. Once we're done with your procedure, the remaining air and fluid is drawn out through the scope. Based on what we find, the exam often takes somewhere between 15 – 45 minutes.

After the exam, you will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored while the sedation wears off. The amount of sedation given during the exam and your individual response to the sedation will dictate how quickly you come to, though many patients are awake enough to be released within 45 – 60 minutes. You will not be allowed to drive for the rest of the day, so you will need to have arrangements made for someone to take you home. You will not be able to work, sign important papers, or perform strenuous activities for the rest of the day. Many of our patients are able to eat and drink normally after being released from the endoscopy facility, however, instructions about activity and exercise, eating, and medications will be given prior to discharge.

Following your enteroscopy exam, your GastroArkansas team will discuss the findings of the procedure with you. Most people will not remember what they are told after the exam due to the effects of the medication. We recommend, if possible, to bring someone with you for these results. You will also go home with a typed report. You will be provided with any biopsy results usually within one week.

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In general, an enteroscopy is a safe and effective process. Overall, complications occur in fewer than 1% of patients. The majority of problems are not mortal, however, if an issue occurs, it could demand hospitalization and surgery. Prior to the exam, a consent form will be reviewed with the patient by the nursing staff. Should any questions or concerns arise, these can be discussed with your provider before the enteroscopy.

Medication reactions as a result of sedation could happen. These can include difficulty breathing, effects on your heart and blood pressure, allergic reactions, and irritation of the vein that received the medication. Bleeding may result with removal of polyps, biopsies, and with dilating strictures. Again, significant bleeding, which would result in a blood transfusion or hospitalization, is uncommon. A hole or laceration of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine could happen. We might recognize this at the time of the exam, or it may not be evident for several hours. In many cases, a perforation will mean surgery and hospitalization. This is not likely, even when biopsies are taken or dilation is performed. It is very important that you call our Little Rock, AR office as soon as symptoms arise after your procedure like worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

Like any other test, enteroscopy is not flawless. There is a small, accepted chance that abnormal conditions, including cancers, might be overlooked throughout the course of the exam. It is critical to follow up with your physician as instructed and let them know of any new or persistent symptoms.

An enteroscopy is a useful endoscopic procedure that can identify the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms and investigating unusual x-ray results. If you require an eteroscopy exam, you can count on our highly trained GI doctors. As a physician-led team of GI providers, GastroArkansas strives to provide superior patient-centered care to treat your GI health. To partner with a provider who performs enteroscopy procedures in Little Rock, AR, please get in touch with a GastroArkansas location in your area.

What should I avoid after my enteroscopy?

After an enteroscopy, it's important to avoid eating or drinking until your doctor gives the go-ahead. Follow any specific medication guidelines provided as well. Refrain from engaging in strenuous physical activities and contact our office if you experience severe abdominal pain, persistent bleeding, or fever.

Who should not undergo an enteroscopy?

Enteroscopy may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions that increase the risk of complications. Patients with severe heart or lung disease, uncontrolled bleeding disorders, or recent heart attacks may be at higher risk due to the sedation and the procedure itself. Additionally, those with anatomical abnormalities or strictures in the digestive tract might be advised against enteroscopy. Discuss any existing health conditions or concerns with your healthcare provider to determine if enteroscopy is right for you.

What is the difference between an endoscopy and an enteroscopy?

The primary difference between an endoscopy and an enteroscopy is the part of the digestive tract they examine. Both procedures use a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope), but an endoscopy typically examines the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. In contrast, an enteroscopy focuses on the small intestine, which is deeper within the digestive system and harder to reach. Enteroscopy is often used when other diagnostic tests like endoscopy or colonoscopy have not provided clear results or when there is a suspected issue in the small intestine.

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