What is balloon endoscopy?
There are two types of balloon endoscopy: a single balloon and double balloon.
Single balloon endoscopy
For single balloon endoscopy, a 200 cm long flexible, fiberoptic, endoscope (a hose-like tube one centimeter in diameter with a light and a camera on the tip) is fitted with an equally long over the tube that slides the full length of the endoscope.
On the tip of the over tube is a balloon that can be inflated and deflated. The balloon is blown up to anchor the over tube within the intestine. While the over tube is anchored, the endoscope can be advanced further into the small intestine. By withdrawing the over tube the small intestine can be shortened and straightened to make the passage of the inner endoscope easier.
The balloon may then be deflated so that the over-tube can be inserted further and the endoscope advanced again. The endoscope itself is a standard endoscope with working channels that allow the intestine to be inflated with air, rinsed with water, or used to guide biopsy or electrocautery instruments to the tip of the endoscope.
Double balloon endoscopy
For double balloon endoscopy, similar equipment is used, but a second balloon is located on the tip of the endoscope. Both balloons – the one on the over the tube and the one on the endoscope – can be alternatively inflated to anchor over the tube or the endoscope to assist with the passage of the endoscope or over a tube, respectively.
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