Small Bowel Endoscopy

Your small intestine, also known as your small bowel, is the longest part of your digestive system (about 20 feet long) and connects your stomach to your large intestine (or colon). Unfortunately, it can be affected by painful conditions like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. Henry Ford IBD Center provides minimally invasive procedures like small bowel endoscopy to diagnose the type, location and severity of the condition causing you discomfort. This information helps doctors develop the treatment plan that is best for you.

What is small bowel endoscopy?

Small bowel endoscopy, also known as deep endoscopy, examines the entire small intestine using balloons, fitted over a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and a video camera on the end of it. This tool is called an endoscope, and it is typically used to see, diagnose or even treat almost any part of the small bowel.

What happens during a small bowel endoscopy?

A skilled anesthesiologist will sedate you for your procedure. Your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and deep into the small intestine. You will not feel any pain.

How to prepare for your endoscopy

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy appointment. Your doctor may ask you to:

  • Fast before your endoscopy so your stomach is empty for the procedure.
  • Stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your endoscopy, because they may increase your risk of bleeding. If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.

What is the difference between a small bowel endoscopy and a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy that is specifically carried out in the colon, also known at the large intestine. A doctor uses this procedure to view and examine the inside of the rectum and the colon. During the procedure, the endoscope is inserted into the body through the anus and is then guided through the rectum till it reaches into the colon. Because Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, a small bowel endoscopy is a preferred procedure for diagnosis of small bowel Crohn’s disease.

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