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Capsule Endoscopy

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What is Capsule Endoscopy?

capsule-endoscopy-what-is-itCapsule endoscopy is a procedure which uses the Pill Cam, a small wireless camera shaped like a pill. The patient swallows the Pill Cam, and the camera travels through the entire digestive system. As it moved through the body, the camera takes pictures of the digestive tract and sends them to a small box which the patient wears like a belt. This box saves the pictures so that the doctor can view them and spot problems in the digestive system.

The patient visits the office in the morning and swallows the Pill Cam. The office staff places the recording belt in the correct position. When the patient returns the recording belt at the end of the day, staff transfer the pictures to a computer so that the doctor can analyze them.

Why is capsule endoscopy done?

The capsule or pill camera allows the doctor to see parts of the digestive tract like the small intestine. The bowel is long and narrow and has many loops and turns. Typically, the capsule study looks for bleeding when a patient is losing blood for an unknown reason. Doctors also use the Pill Cam to look for changes in the lining of the small intestine due to conditions like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.

What do I need to do to get ready?

You will need to adhere to a clear liquid diet on the evening before the exam. You will also need to take a medication to clear your bowels. Take nothing by mouth for three hours before and three hours after you swallow the Pill Cam. You may take your regular medications unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Download the Capsule Endoscopy Prep PDF

icon-pdfSmall Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

What can I expect during the procedure?

capsule-endoscopy-what-can-I-expectThe capsule study is an outpatient procedure which involves swallowing the pill camera and wearing the recording belt. This test can only be done after the preparation described above has been completed. You should remain active during the test, but you must avoid strong magnetic devices such as MRI machines until after the capsule passes.

Most people will pass the capsule in their stool 24-72 hours after the study. If you don’t see the capsule in your feces after 72 hours, your doctor will order an  x-ray to find the capsule.

When do I get the results?

capsule-endoscopy-resultsMost patients discuss the results during an office visit after the procedure. After doctors review the study, they forward their findings to the provider who ordered the test. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for your physician to get the results of the test.

 

 

Are there risks with this procedure?

capsule-endoscopy-risksIf you have trouble swallowing, have narrowed areas in the esophagus, or suffer from severe stomach emptying delay (gastroparesis), the pill can be delivered into the small intestine with an endoscope. If your small intestine or colon has narrowed due to previous surgeries or radiation exposure, you may not be able to undergo this procedure.

Some patients with pacemaker/defibrillators need to be monitored during this test in order to prevent electrical interference with their heart devices. There is a very small risk that camera could lodge itself in the intestine. If the camera causes a blockage, you will need surgery to remove it.

When your doctor has concerns about the capsule’s ability to pass out of the digestive tract, he orders an Agile Patency Capsule. This is a replica of the pill camera made out of material that breaks down in your stomach or bowel. After you swallow this pill, it is monitored for passage in the feces. If the patency capsule gets stuck, you cannot do the actual pill camera study.

Download the Capsule Endoscopy Prep PDF

icon-pdfCapsule Endoscopy Prep

 

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