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Gastrointestinal Bleeding Treatment Information
As one of the top national programs in balloon enteroscopy, we provide safe and effective treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding. At IU Health, our physicians are leaders in research and clinical trials, which enables us to give you the most advanced treatments available. In some instances, therapy with a balloon-assisted scope can help you avoid surgery.
When the cause of your bleeding cannot be pinpointed by endoscopy, your gastroenterologist may use double balloon enteroscopy to find the source of your bleeding. This procedure lets your physician examine parts of your small bowel that are difficult to reach. A double balloon enteroscopy uses a long tube equipped with a camera that pushes deeper into your intestines as the attached balloons inflate and deflate. This is the only procedure that allows your doctor to view the deep portions of the small intestine.
In double balloon or deep enteroscopy, one balloon inflates while the other deflates creating a push-pull effect that advances the endoscope further into the small intestine. This allows for a more precise grabbing and gathering of the small intestine. The outpatient procedure is performed under general anesthesia and may be combined with additional gastroenterology studies if needed. Balloon enteroscopy usually takes two hours.
Balloon enteroscopy is used to examine, diagnose and treat the bleeding. If lesions are found, they can be cauterized immediately. Tumors and biopsies can be removed and the location of an abnormality can be marked for future surgery.
- Bleeding. Balloon enteroscopy allows your physician to treat and cauterize ulcers and bleeding lesions in your small intestine during the procedure. A long tube (endoscope) equipped with a camera enters your small bowel through your upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. By inflating and deflating the attached balloons, the small bowel is gathered and pleated over an insertion tube, in the way a curtain goes over a curtain rod.
- Biopsy. During a balloon enteroscopy, samples can be taken from tissues, tumors and polyps for further study or cancer staging.
- Polyp removal. Your physician can resect polyps and other masses from your small intestine during an enteroscopy.
- Tattooing. Your physician may mark, or tattoo, an area of your small intestine for later surgery or further investigation.
- X-rays. While your physician is conducting the balloon enteroscopy procedure, he or she will take pictures and possibly videos of your small intestine to document any areas of concern.
- Medicines. For gastrointestinal bleeding caused by inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) and ulcers, medicines can help reduce inflammation and heal areas of your intestinal lining.
- Clinical studies. At IU Health, we maintain a database of all double balloon enteroscopies. We are studying the results of these procedures to determine if and how we are making a difference for patients, especially when it comes to treating bleeding of the small intestine.
Gastrointestinal Bleeding Locations & Physicians
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Gastrointestinal Bleeding Support Services
Learn more about gastrointestinal bleeding treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Gastrointestinal Bleeding Support Services
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
This division of the National Institutes of Health provides extensive information about digestive diseases and treatments, including gastrointestinal bleeding.
American College of Gastroenterology
This association offers patient information about small bowel (GI) bleeding, its causes and treatments.
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
The patient section of this group’s website includes detailed information about many disorders of the small intestine and treatments such as balloon enteroscopy.