What is double-balloon endoscopy?

Double-balloon endoscopy allows gastroenterologists to access the small intestine, whereas it was previously mostly inaccessible with standard endoscopy. Double-balloon endoscopy uses a specialized endoscope featuring 2 balloons�the first attached to the end of the scope, the second to a transparent tube sliding over the endoscope. When inflated with air, the balloons cling to sections of the small intestine and pleat it over the endoscope, effectively "shortening" it. Shortening of the small intestine over the endoscope enables a comprehensive examination of the entire small intestine, allowing targeted intervention that makes biopsies, injections, and removal and ablation techniques in the small intestine possible without surgery.

The double-balloon endoscopy device, which received FDA approval in 2004, produces high-quality images and is believed to reduce patient discomfort. If a lesion is found in the small intestine that requires surgery, "tattooing" of the region and biopsies for tissue diagnosis by double-balloon endoscopy also can provide important information to help surgeons plan for the appropriate type of surgery, potentially resulting in smaller incisions and less-invasive operations as well as shorter recovery times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.