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Photo courtesy of Given Imaging
What is a Capsule Endoscopy?
A capsule endoscopy is a procedure designed to help your physician see inside your gastrointestinal tract further than the reach of traditional endoscopes.
During the procedure, a patient swallows a vitamin-sized pill with a camera inside that takes images. The pill then moves through your digestive tract and images are taken of different parts of your body, such as the esophagus and small intestine.
Capsule endoscopy is the least invasive and most direct way to help your physician see the entire small intestine and esophagus, which is difficult to see through traditional endoscopes.
Capsule endoscopy is designed specifically to help your doctor see inside your digestive tract to diagnose disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, benign and cancerous tumors, ulcerative colitis and other disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus. These capsules transmit images up to a rate of two images per second for approximately eight hours, resulting in more than 50,000 images.
What can I expect with the procedure?
When you arrive at the doctor’s office, the doctor or nurse will attach sensors to your stomach with an adhesive so they won’t come off. These sensors allow the video capsule to wirelessly transmit images of your small intestine. You will then be asked to put a Velcro belt on with a data recorder attached to it. This recorder is the size of a CD walkman and actually stores all the pictures taken by the video capsule. You will then be asked to swallow the vitamin-sized video capsule, with a glass of water.
Once the nurse or doctor has determined that you have successfully swallowed the video capsule, you will be allowed to leave the office for the remainder of the day. You return to the office approximately 8 hours later to return the data recorder and to have the sensors removed from your stomach. Your doctor then loads the pictures stored on the data recorder to his or her computer to review. The doctor will then call you to walk through the results.
How does the capsule get eliminated and will I feel it come out?
The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with a bowel movement, usually within 24 to 72 hours.
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Last updated 6/09
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