Enteroscopy in Thibodaux, LA

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During an enteroscopy, a lengthy, skinny, 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 camera and light on the end of it, which allows your GI specialist to examine the inner portion of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. An enteroscopy might be performed to establish the cause of GI problems such as abdominal pain, bleeding, or unusual X-ray results. If you need an enteroscopy, you can contact one of our talented providers at Digestive Health Center to learn more about the procedure. Our providers frequently conduct enteroscopies for Thibodaux, LA patients and look forward to helping you enhance your GI health.

An enteroscopy is often used to distinguish abnormalities or disorders in the small intestine. You may need an enteroscopy if you experience any of the below symptoms:

  • Abnormal X-ray results
  • Unexplained diarrhea
  • Abnormal tumors or growths in the small bowel
  • Bleeding

To a certain degree, the alternatives to this exam will depend on the overall reason for needing the enteroscopy in the first place. In a variety of patients, enteroscopy is the most effective way to evaluate and address abnormalities in the upper GI tract, particularly if they involve the second portion of the small intestine. However, the X-ray image known as a small bowel follow-through can appraise your upper gastrointestinal tract, as well. This is, though, just a diagnostic method and any abnormalities found would require an enteroscopy or a surgical treatment.

Before your enteroscopy, you will be given directions from your Digestive Health Center provider regarding the needed prep. A large number of patients will most likely be able to eat as they normally would the day leading up to the exam. However, you will be instructed not to take anything by mouth after 12:00 a.m. except for medications. You will also receive further instructions regarding your medications. In many cases, your medications will be continued as usual. However, in select circumstances, particularly in those who take blood thinners and in diabetics, special rules will be provided. It is vital to adhere to the requirements provided by your GI specialist.

We will ask you to arrive at the endoscopy unit 1 to 1.5 hours prior to your enteroscopy exam. This gives you time to complete paperwork and complete any other preparation for your procedure. We will have you change into a hospital gown, then an IV catheter will be inserted in your arm so sedation can be given. You will be connected to equipment that will enable our providers to monitor your heart rate, pulse, oxygen levels, and much more during and after the exam.

Once in the exam room, we'll have you lie on your left side on the procedure table. The IV will be started, starting with small amounts of sedation to verify that you do not have any reaction to the medication and so we provide only the amount you need. From there, the endoscope will be gently inserted into your mouth. We will carefully advance the scope through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. A small amount of air will be injected through the scope into your GI tract to help your provider better see. Any fluid remaining in your upper GI tract is suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the findings of the exam, several things can be suggested at the time of your enteroscopy, such as biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. Once we're done with your procedure, air and remaining fluid are removed via the scope. Depending on the findings, the procedure often takes somewhere between 15 – 45 minutes.

After the exam is complete, we will escort you to recovery to be monitored while you come out of sedation. The amount of sedation given during the exam and your individual reaction to the medication will determine how quickly you come to, though most of our patients are alert enough to be discharged within 45 – 60 minutes. You cannot drive for the rest of the day, so you will need to have someone take you home. You will not be able to work, sign official documents, or do arduous activities for the remainder of the day. You should be fine to eat and drink as normal once discharged from the endoscopy facility; however, instructions about activities, medications, and eating will be reviewed before you are discharged.

After your enteroscopy, your Digestive Health Center team will discuss the results of the exam with you. Most individuals will struggle to remember what they are told after the exam due to the effects of the medication — we recommend you have a family member join you who can lend a second pair of ears. We will also send you home with a typed report. You will be informed of any biopsy results within about one week.

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In general, an enteroscopy is a very safe exam. Normally, complications occur in less than 1% of patients. The majority of issues are not life-threatening; however, if a problem does occur, it could require a hospital stay and a surgical procedure. Ahead of your exam, we will review a consent form with you explaining the associated risks. Should any questions or concerns arise, these can be discussed with your provider prior to beginning your enteroscopy.

Medication reactions associated with the sedation used might happen. These can include but are not limited to allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, effects on the heart and blood pressure, and irritation of the vein used in the IV process. Bleeding can happen with biopsies, removal of polyps, and with dilating strictures. Significant bleeding, which would result in a blood transfusion or hospitalization, is unlikely. Perforation or puncture of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine could occur. This may be recognized during the exam, or it may not be obvious until hours later. In many cases, this would result in surgery and a hospital stay. This is an uncommon complication, even when dilation is performed and biopsies are taken. It is very important that you contact your gastroenterologist immediately if symptoms occur after the procedure like bleeding, abdominal pain, or fever.

Similar to any other test, enteroscopy is not perfect. There exists a minimal, acknowledged risk that abnormal tissues, including malignancies, may be overlooked during the procedure. It is critical to routinely follow up with your provider as advised and let them know of any new or ongoing symptoms.

An enteroscopy is a useful endoscopic procedure that is used to identify the cause of unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms and further inspect atypical X-ray results. If you require an enteroscopy exam, you can trust the highly trained GI doctors at Digestive Health Center. As a physician-led team of GI specialists, our specialists strive to deliver individualized patient-centric care to enhance your GI tract health. To partner with a provider who performs enteroscopy procedures in Thibodaux, LA, please request a consultation at a Digestive Health Center location in your community.

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