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What is a Small bowel enteroscopy?

Small bowel enteroscopy is a minimally invasive examination of the small intestine. The London Clinic’s world-leading gastroenterologists perform the procedure to identify bleeding, take biopsies, remove polyps and diagnose disease.

The London Clinic Endoscopy Unit offers small bowel enteroscopy in a private, calm and stress-free environment. With the very latest equipment and care by an expert multidisciplinary team, our patients have given the unit a satisfaction rate of between 98 and 100%.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment. 

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Understanding your investigation

The London Clinic has a dedicated, state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit. It is the only independent, private clinic offering a Saturday service, giving busy patients greater flexibility and choice.

The London Clinic has a team of consultant gastroenterologists and endoscopists with the experience and expertise to investigate and diagnose your problem.

The team will answer any questions you may have, skilfully perform your investigation and then carefully explain their findings. Our specialists work closely with multidisciplinary teams to maintain your physical health and support you throughout the procedure.

Why would I need an enteroscopy?

Enteroscopy can be done as a routine screening test for people with recurrent polyps or rare hereditary conditions such as Peutz-Jegher’s syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis. It can also be used to investigate:

  • Unexplained bleeding from the bowel
  • Digestive disturbances including problems absorbing nutrients
  • Recurrent diarrhoea
  • Abnormalities that have been seen on a previous scan can be looked at in greater detail and biopsies taken for laboratory analysis.

A small bowel enterosopy can also be used therapeutically. During the procedure, our consultants can:

  • Insert a feeding tube for people who have had surgery to remove the stomach, or who have problems with food passing through their stomach due to a blockage
  • Stop bleeding by cauterising any leaking blood vessels
  • Remove polyps before they grow too large or have the potential to become cancerous

What is the preparation for enteroscopy?

To prepare for your enteroscopy, your consultant will usually ask you not to eat and drink on the day of the procedure. This will ensure that they can get clear, unobstructed views of your digestive tract.

Our expert endoscopy team will provide you with more detailed guidance on what you can eat and drink prior to the enteroscopy. They will also advise on when to stop any blood-thinning mediations and whether to continue taking medication you have been prescribed to control chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Small bowel enteroscopy facts

Your consultant will perform the enteroscopy as an outpatient procedure. At The London Clinic, sedation and pain-relieving medication is administered into your vein before the procedure, to reduce discomfort and anxiety. You should be relaxed but conscious during the investigation. 

Your consultant may spray local anaesthetic in the back of your mouth, to numb your throat. They will then insert the thin, flexible tube into your mouth. They may ask you to swallow, to help the endoscope pass down your throat. The sedation will make you feel pleasantly drowsy and although there may be a little pressure you shouldn’t feel any pain.

The tube will be passed down the oesophagus, through the stomach and along the full length of the small intestine. There is a small camera on the end of the device, which relays high-quality images to a computer screen, so that your consultant can identify any abnormal areas.

During the enteroscopy, your gastroenterologist can take biopsies, remove polyps and cauterise bleeding vessels. An enteroscopy is a relatively short procedure, lasting around 45 minutes, depending on the amount of treatment required.

Small bowel enteroscopy risks

There are risks with any procedure. Our gastroenterologists, together with our experienced nursing staff, work to minimise these and support your safe recovery

You may simply have a mild sore throat after the procedure, however a small number of people have more significant complications:

  • Pancreatitis: Less than one in a hundred people may develop inflammation of the pancreas following the procedure
  • Bleeding: This is more of a problem if a biopsy or polypectomy is performed- however, bleeding is still uncommon, affecting one in one to two hundred people. It usually stops spontaneously or can be controlled by cauterising the area
  • Perforation: A tear in the bowel wall is a rare complication, occurring in approximately one in a thousand enteroscopies. The risk is higher is a polyp is removed

Small bowel enteroscopy recovery

After your enteroscopy, you will recover in our purpose-built unit until the sedative has worn off. Some people experience wind and cramping pain, so our nursing staff will offer painkillers to ease any discomfort.

When you are feeling more awake you can go home, however you will need an someone to escort you and stay with you overnight. You will be advised to avoid alcohol and you shouldn’t drive, work or operate machinery for 24 hours, as you won’t be as mentally alert as usual.

Your consultant will be able to discuss their visual findings as soon as you feel able to chat. They may then arrange an appointment to discuss the results of any biopsies and tests. Pathology laboratory results are usually available in 3 to 4 working days. They will explain your diagnosis, discuss your treatment options and address any worries that you have.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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