, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 1-12
Date: 22 Jan 2009

Double-balloon endoscopy: past, present, and future

Abstract

Double-balloon endoscopy (DBE) was developed as a new technique for visualization of and intervention in the entire small intestine. In DBE, the intestinal walls are held apart by a balloon attached to the distal end of a soft overtube. DBE has been reported worldwide to be very useful for not only diagnosis but also endoscopic therapy. Biopsy samples of small intestinal tumors can be obtained using DBE, and the appropriate treatment can be selected before a surgical procedure. For inflammatory diseases, DBE can reveal the localization of ulcers in the lumen (on the mesenteric or antimesenteric side), which is important for differential diagnosis. Some endoscopic therapies such as hemostatic procedures, polypectomy, and dilation therapy for benign strictures can be performed in the same manner as in the large intestine. DBE may also be suitable for colonoscopy for difficult insertion cases and therapeutic procedures such as endoscopic submucosal dissection. Furthermore, a double-balloon endoscope can be selectively inserted into the afferent loop to perform endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in patients with Roux-en-Y anastomosis, allowing various kinds of endoscopic treatments for biliary diseases to be successfully performed. Endoscopic therapy in the small intestine, whose wall is very thin, should be performed with special care to avoid complications such as bleeding and perforation. In the future, improvement is expected in terms of maneuverability, therapeutic capability, and imaging technology such as the addition of a magnifying function and flexible spectral imaging color enhancement. We anticipate that DBE will contribute to the establishment of medical science of the small intestine and to research elucidating the mechanisms of small intestinal diseases.