Capsule Endoscopy

What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is a pilled sized capsule which has its own lens and light source. After you swallow it, it will pass through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on your belt for approximately eight hours. After the procedure, the data recorder is removed and your doctor can see the images on a computer monitor.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy Done?

Capsule endoscopy enables your doctor to evaluate the small intestine. This part of the bowel cannot be reached by conventional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to search for a cause of bleeding from the small intestine. It may also be useful for detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), ulcers, and tumors of the small intestine.

Before the Procedure

You should not eat or drink including water for approximately twelve hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting. Your doctor may you’re your medication to cleanse your small bowel. Consult your doctor prior to the procedure to determine if the medications you are on should be taken or not prior to capsule endoscopy. Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions, such as swallowing disorders and heart or lung disease. Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker, previous abdominal surgery, or previous history of obstructions in the bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, or adhesions.

During the Procedure

The nurse will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor device to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves (similar to tape). The capsule endoscope is swallowed and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on your belt for approximately eight hours. You will be able to drink clear liquids after two hours and eat a light meal after four hours following the capsule ingestion, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. You will have to avoid vigorous physical activity such as running or jumping during the study. At the end of the procedure, the data recorder is removed so that images of your small bowel can be put on a computer screen for your doctor to review.

What are the Possible Complications of Capsule Endoscopy?

Although capsule endoscopy is a safe procedure, complications can occur. Potential risks include complications from obstruction. This is usually casused by a stricture (narrowing) of the intestine from inflammation, prior surgery, or tumor. Call your doctor if you have early signs of possible complications such as unusual bloating, pain, and/or vomiting. Don’t discontinue the system prematurely as this may result in loss of image acquisition.