This information is approved and/or reviewed by U-M Health System providers but it is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for medical treatment. You should speak to your physician or make an appointment to be seen if you have questions or concerns about this information or your medical condition.| Complete disclaimer
Balloon-assisted enteroscopy is a visual examination of the small bowel using an instrument called an endoscope. The balloon allows the scope to pass further into the small bowel than previously possible. Depending on the type of problem you are having, the scope is inserted into either the mouth (called an upper endoscopy) or the rectum (called a lower endoscopy). The inflated balloons hold onto the sides of the bowel and a tube slides over the scope. This pleating action helps move the scope through the bowel. During this visual examination, your doctor may perform other minor procedures that will benefit you, such as taking a small piece of tissue for biopsy. Please note that biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer.
Having this procedure will assist your doctor in making medical decisions and will also be beneficial in planning your overall medical care. The procedure takes about 2 hours. However, you should expect your visit to last 4 to 5 hours to allow for preparation and recovery time.
Preparing for your procedure
- Please contact your primary care physician or insurance company if prior referral is needed.
- If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call 888-229-7408 or 734-936-9250 (option 1) as soon as possible to reschedule.
- If you have an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD), please call the above number as soon as possible to report the ICD name and manufacturer prior to your procedure.
- Be sure to tell the doctor that ordered your test if you are on Coumadin or other blood thinners. You will need special instructions.
YOU MUST ARRANGE FOR A RESPONSIBLE ADULT (OVER 18) TO ACCOMPANY YOU from the endoscopy unit. The person accompanying you must remain in the unit during your entire visit so that they are available as soon as you are ready to be discharged. YOU WILL NOT BE DISCHARGED unless that person is in the unit.
Because your judgment can be impaired after this procedure, you WILL NOT BE RELEASED to public transportation, a taxicab driver, or even to walk home without another responsible adult to accompany you.
One week (7 days) before your procedure
- Do not take any anti-platelet medication for seven (7) days before your procedure, as all of these drugs may increase your risk of bleeding. Examples of these products include, but are not limited to:
*Aggrenox (aspirin plus dipryridamole)
- You will also need to use a solution to clean out your bowels (also known as a bowel preparation). The instructions are given below. This solution is called polyethylene glycol (PEG). You will need to get this from your pharmacy with a prescription given to you by your physician's office.
- Do not take herbal supplements for one (1) week prior to your procedure as some of these products may increase your risk of bleeding.
- If you are unsure whether or not to continue taking your medications prior to your balloon procedure, please ask the health care provider who ordered your test.
Two days before your procedure
Clear liquids only until after procedure. As much as desired. No solid food. Allowed liquids: water, black coffee or tea, apple juice or white grape juice, soda pop (including cola, 7-up, Sprite, ginger ale), lemon or lime powdered drinks (Kool-Aid or Crystal Light), lemon or lime gelatin. Nothing with red, orange, or purple food coloring. Have several servings of a variety of liquids at each meal.
At 6:00 PM take 34 grams of Miralax. Miralax can be purchased without a prescription at your local pharmacy. You will mix 2 metered capfuls in 16 ounces of water.
One day before your procedure
You may have clear liquids all day, as specified above.
PEG preparation (examples: NuLYTELY, Colyte, GoLYTELY, TriLyte). You will need a prescription.
At 6:00 PM, the day before your enteroscopy, begin drinking the PEG solution, which you have mixed ahead of time and chilled. Drink a glassful (8 ounces) every 15 minutes until half the gallon is gone. Your bowels may begin to move in about 30–60 minutes.
Drink the remaining ½ of the solution (½ gallon, about 2 quarts) the morning of your procedure, starting at least 4 hours plus driving time before you need to be at the procedure unit.
The day of your procedure
You may have clear liquids up to 2 hours before the procedure.
Please bring the following with you on the day of your procedure:
A list of all medications you are taking
A list of any allergies you have
Health insurance cards
- A responsible adult must accompany you from the endoscopy suite after your procedure. Your procedure will not begin until the nursing staff speaks with the responsible adult who will take you home. You will not be discharged until that person is in the unit to escort you from the endoscopy suite.
Small children will be more comfortable at home.
- Please leave jewelry at home.
- If you take oral diabetes medications pills): Do not take the medication the morning of your test. Bring your diabetes medication with you.
- If you take insulin (one or two injections per day): Take one-half of your usual morning dose of NPH, Lente or Novolin 70/30 or Lantus insulin and NO Regular or Humalog insulin the morning of your test. If you take evening insulin, follow these same instructions for your dose the evening before your test. If you take Ultralente insulin or are on three or more injections per day, please contact the health care provider who manages your diabetes.
Please refer to the handout, Instructions for Patients with Diabetes Having Outpatient Procedures
In the reception or preparation area you will answer questions about your health history, current medicines and allergies. You will sign a consent form. After you change into a hospital gown, a nurse will start an intravenous line (IV). The IV is used to give you medication to make you more comfortable during the procedure. The procedure is performed in a room specially designed for endoscopic procedures. Equipment that will help the nurse and doctor monitor your heartbeat and breathing will be connected to you. Your throat will be numbed with a spray (for the upper procedure only) and you will be sedated before the doctor starts. You will be able to breathe normally and burp if needed during the procedure.
As with any medical procedure, there are potential complications associated with this procedure. These complications will be explained to you at the time you sign your consent for the procedure, if not before.
After your procedure you will be taken to the recovery area. One adult person who came with you to your procedure may join you there, if you wish. When you are ready to go home the nurse will discuss discharge instructions and answer your questions. You will be given a summary of findings for your procedure. You may NOT drive yourself home. Be sure to bring a responsible adult licensed driver with you. A responsible adult must be with you when you are discharged from the recovery area. We suggest a family member or friend stay with you for the remainder of the day.
- You will be given specific written instructions about resuming your medications and diet.
- You may return to work or school the day after your procedure.
- Do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery for at least 12 hours after your procedure.
- Do not make any major legal or financial decisions for at least 12 hours after your procedure.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages for at least 12 hours after your procedure.