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Patient care — diagnostic tools, tests, procedures

Small bowel biopsy Small bowel biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a portion of the small bowel lining is removed for examination. A flexible fiberoptic tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth or nose and into the upper gastrointestinal tract where a tissue sample is removed. This test is most often performed to help diagnose diseases of the small intestines.

How the test is performed: Small bowel biopsy samples can be obtained by EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) or other endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

A flexible fiberoptic tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth or nose and into the upper gastrointestinal tract. Tissue samples removed during endoscopy are sent to the laboratory for examination. Capsule biopsy produces a larger sample of the intestinal lining (mucosa) and allows sampling of areas that are beyond the reach of the endoscope. The procedure is similar to that of EGD. The back of your throat is sprayed with a local anesthetic to prevent gagging.

The tube and capsule is inserted through your mouth and you are asked to swallow as the tube is advanced. The position may be changed from sitting to lying on the right side to help the capsule advance through the stomach and into the small bowel. When the capsule is properly positioned, suction is applied to the tube (which causes the capsule to close and grab tissue). Once a tissue sample has been obtained, the tube and capsule are removed.

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