Where to go for care

Charles Gabbert, MD

UPMC St. Margaret is the first hospital in the Pittsburgh area to use the double balloon enteroscopy, an advanced endoscopic procedure which allows doctors to go very deep into the small bowel.

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What Is a Double Balloon Enteroscopy?

“Double balloon enteroscopy is a crucial addition to all the current endoscopic services here at UPMC St. Margaret,” says Charles Gabbert, MD, medical director and gastroenterologist at the Gastrointestinal Lab and Procedure Unit at UPMC St. Margaret, who is pioneering the procedure. “Sometimes there are other varieties of diseases and conditions that warrant a deeper investigation into the small bowel, and with this type of technology, that’s now feasible.”

The procedure is performed with a scope that can pleat the small bowel, much like an accordion or shower curtain over a rod. Forming this accordion of the small bowel gives doctors the ability to go very deep inside the bowels and reach areas that were never possible previously.

Who Benefits from the Procedure?

Double balloon enteroscopy has a variety of uses, making it a valuable procedure for a wide range of patients.

  • Iron deficiency anemia. Frequently, the double balloon is required to determine causes of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Previous abnormal gastrointestinal study. If prior imaging or a capsule endoscopy shows an irregularity, double balloon may be necessary for further study.
  • Altered anatomy requiring therapeutic interventions. Double balloon enteroscopy may be needed to address problems that arise in modified anatomy from bowel restrictions, gastric bypass, or other types of revisional surgeries.

Other Uses for Double Balloon Enteroscopy

While the procedure is primarily used for the small bowel in the context of altered anatomy or for the need to reach deep into the small bowel, there are several diagnostic and therapeutic uses for double balloon enteroscopy, including:

  • Accessing post-operative anatomy, especially in cases where the bile duct or pancreatic duct has been moved due to a prior surgery.
  • Expanding areas.
  • Reaching the end of the colon.
  • Removing small amounts of tissue for further examination.

“The double balloon scope allows me to get to places where conventional endoscopy would never be able to reach,” says Dr. Gabbert. “It allows me to do meaningful therapeutics, whether to treat deep small bowel lesions that are causing people anemia, remove stones, or place bile duct stents when patients have altered anatomy.”

World-class Care, Right in Your Community

UPMC St. Margaret is dedicated to serving the communities in northeastern Allegheny County and the Allegheny-Kiski Valley and strives to offer top-notch care and services to residents.

“UPMC St. Margaret is a community hospital full of compassion and care for those in the area,” says Dr. Gabbert. “In order to build on that compassion, we want to continue expanding our services to include newer techniques, tools, and devices to offer our patients the highest level of care possible and close to home.”

For more information about the services available at the Gastrointestinal Lab and Procedure Unit at UPMC St. Margaret or to make an appointment, call 412-784-4000.

About Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center

The UPMC Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Center is a joint program between UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. We provide long-term care for adolescents, young adults, maternal patients, and adults with congenital heart disease. Our goal is to provide complete care from your childhood all the way through your life. Our team of experts has a wide knowledge of heart conditions.