Capsule Endoscopy

Procedure using a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your digestive tract.

No Referral Required

An upper endoscopy, (EGD), can look a little ways into the first part of the small intestine, (duodenum). A colonoscopy can see a few inches into the last part, (ileum). But that leaves 20 feet or so of coiled up intestines beyond the reach of traditional endoscopy. A capsule endoscopy helps doctors see inside your small intestine – an area that isn’t easily reached with other procedures.

What to Expect

The capsule endoscopy involves swallowing a vitamin sized capsule which contains a camera, a strobe light and a transmitter. It is swallowed in the morning and a recording device is worn for the day. At the end of the day the recording device is removed. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to your recorder.

The doctor will then have 20-30,000 images to sort through on a computer. The patient will receive a report of the results after the study is read.

Why It's Done

  • Find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to find the source of GI bleeding if it cannot be found with upper or lower endoscopy, (EGD, colonoscopy).
  • Diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. Capsule endoscopy can help define the extent and severity of Crohn’s inflammation.
  • Diagnose cancer. Tumors in the small intestine are fortunately rare, but sometimes a capsule can discover these.
  • Follow up celiac disease. Capsule endoscopy is sometimes used in monitoring the effects of treatment for celiac.
  • Esophageal evaluation. Capsule endoscopy has also been approved to evaluate the esophagus, (swallowing tube), for acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus or varicose veins.
  • Find polyps. Patients with certain inherited conditions that predispose to polyps and cancer of the intestines can be screened with a capsule endoscopy along with traditional methods, (EGD, colonoscopy)

Important Questions Before a Capsule is Swallowed

  • Do you have trouble swallowing pills or food
  • Have you had a bowel obstruction
  • Any prior surgery on the stomach, (for ulcers or for obesity)
  • Any prior surgery on the intestines
  • Do you have a pacemaker or defibrillator

Important facts for having a capsule endoscopy

  • READ AND FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS
  • THERE IS A HALF DAY OF CLEAR LIQUIDS AND A SMALL BOWEL PREP THE DAY BEFORE THE CAPSULE IS SWALLOWED
  • NOTHING BY MOUTH AFTER MIDNIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE
  • A LIGHT SNACK 4 HOURS AFTER SWALLOWING PILL
  • WATCH FOR THE PILL IN THE TOILET; FLUSH IT AND NOTIFY US
  • WE WILL GET AN XRAY IF YOU DO NOT SEE THE CAPSULE IN THE TOILET
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