gastroenterology treatments

Capsule Endoscopy

Endoscopy is really about giving your doctor a camera's-eye view of your digestive tract. Capsule endoscopy puts the camera into a capsule that you swallow just like a pill. In fact, people sometimes call this the "pill cam."

As the camera capsule moves through your digestive system, it takes and sends pictures to a receiver you'll be wearing. To ensure a clear view, you'll have to fast for a period of time before the test. During the test, you'll drink clear fluids. The test takes time—about 8 hours—so you'll usually swallow the pill cam in the morning, and your doctor will collect the images later in the day from the receiver you've been wearing.

Once all the pictures are received, your doctor can review them on a monitor. The capsule will leave your body with your next bowel movement and disappear as you flush the toilet. It's important to watch for the capsule's exit, or an X-ray may be necessary to ensure it is no longer inside you.

Capsule endoscope is particularly useful for seeing the entire small intestine, an area that is hard to completely cover with other forms of endoscopy. This method also gives your doctor information about how your digestive system moves food from your mouth all the way to your anus.

This procedure doesn’t require any sedation. Patients typically experience little or no discomfort from capsule endoscopy.

Unlike tube endoscopy, the capsule doesn't allow your doctor to take tissue samples during the procedure. Further procedures may be necessary depending on what your doctor finds during your capsule endoscopy.