Small bowel tissue biopsy smear

Small bowel tissue biopsy smear is a laboratory test which examines tissue from the small intestine for the presence of microorganisms associated with certain intestinal infections.

How the test is performed

The specimen is obtained by EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), a flexible scope that is passed through the digestive tract to the small intestine to view the organs and obtain specimens.

A sample of small intestinal tissue is biopsied (removed). The specimen is placed on a microscope slide, stained, and sectioned (sliced) for histological (tissue) examination.

How to prepare for the test
The preparation is the same as for an EGD.

How the test will feel
The test will feel the same as for an EGD.

Why the test is performed
The test is performed to diagnose an infection or parasitic infestation of the small bowel. In most cases, this test is only done when stool examinations and duodenal string test have been unable to confirm the diagnosis.

Normal Values

The small intestine contains certain bacteria and yeast which are considered normal intestinal flora. The presence of pathogenic bacteria or certain parasites is abnormal.

What abnormal results mean

The presence of certain microorganisms, such as Giardia, Entamoeba, and others is abnormal.

What the risks are

The risks are the same as for an EGD with biopsy.

Special considerations

Examination of tissue by a pathologist is another valuable aid in the diagnosis of certain intestinal infections.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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