Objective. Retrograde double balloon enteroscopy (DBE) is important for evaluating the distal small bowel, but it is more challenging compared to the oral route. Optimizing small bowel insertion may enhance the diagnostic utility of the examination. We sought to determine if insertion depths achieved with retrograde DBE when performed as an isolated procedure differed significantly from when performed immediately following anterograde DBE. Material and methods. A retrospective analysis was conducted of all retrograde DBE procedures performed at our center with comparisons made between "distal-only" DBE without preceding anterograde DBE and "combined" DBE after a prior same-day anterograde DBE. Results. Two hundred ninety retrograde DBE procedures were performed in 264 patients over 5 years. Success of terminal ileal intubation exceeded 95%. The mean insertion depth into the distal small bowel differed significantly with 112 cm (95% CI 95-129) in the "distal-only" group and 92 cm (95% CI 85-98) in the "combined" group (p = 0.01), with a trend toward a corresponding increased diagnostic yield of 48% versus 37%, respectively (p = 0.15). Multivariate regression analysis identified both insertion route strategy (distal-only > combined; p = 0.01) and type of DBE endoscope (diagnostic > therapeutic; p = 0.02) as significant predictors of retrograde insertion depth. Conclusions. The insertion depth of retrograde DBE is significantly greater when carried out as a separate distal procedure and not in combination with a preceding anterograde DBE, and when performed using a diagnostic as opposed to the therapeutic DBE endoscope. This increased retrograde depth of insertion may be associated with an increased diagnostic yield.