Terminal ileal intubation and biopsy in routine colonoscopy practice

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 May;9(5):567-74. doi: 10.1586/17474124.2015.1001744. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


This special report focuses on the current literature regarding the utility of terminal ileal (TI) intubation and biopsy. The authors reviewed the literature regarding the clinical benefit of TI intubation at the time of colonoscopy and also the evidence for TI intubation as a colonoscopy quality indicator. TI intubation is useful to identify ileal diseases such as Crohn's disease and additionally as a means of confirming colonoscopy completion when classical caecal landmarks are not confidently seen. Previous studies have demonstrated that TI intubation has variable yield but may be more useful in patients presenting with diarrhea. Reported rates of TI intubation at colonoscopy vary. The authors demonstrate that terminal ileoscopy is feasible in clinical practice and sometimes yields additional clinical information. Additionally it may be used as an indicator of colonoscopy completion. It may be particularly helpful when investigating patients with diarrhea, abnormalities seen on other imaging modalities and patients with suspected Crohn's disease. TIs reported as normal at endoscopy have a low yield when biopsied; however, biopsies from abnormal-looking TIs demonstrate a higher yield and have greater diagnostic value.

Keywords: colonoscopy; ileal biopsy; ileal intubation; ileocolonoscopy; terminal ileum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Colonoscopy / standards
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Humans
  • Ileal Diseases / complications
  • Ileal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Ileal Diseases / pathology
  • Ileum / pathology*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*