Capsule Endoscopy is a procedure that allows gastroenterologists to completely visualize the small intestine. The patient swallows a “capsule” that contains a small, wireless camera that captures images as it passes through the small intestine. The capsule we use is called PillCam SB.
Capsule Endoscopy offers many benefits for patients and doctors. It is non-invasive and allows the patient to carry on with normal activities during the procedure. Doctors consider PillCam SB a great innovation because it picks up abnormalities previously missed by CT and other X-ray studies. Traditional methods of endoscopy (colonoscopy and upper endoscopy) do not easily reach the small intestine.
What is the small intestine?
The small intestine is located between the stomach and the large intestine. It measures about 20 feet long and is also referred to as the small bowel. This is where most of the food you eat is digested and absorbed. A properly functioning small intestine is essential for good health.
When is Capsule Endoscopy recommended?
Capsule Endoscopy is valuable in diagnosing a wide range of gastrointestinal issues including:
What are the patient benefits of Capsule Endoscopy?
Patients can avoid invasive exploratory surgery and sedation. There is no pain and recovery is immediate. Patients usually do not need to take a day off from work.
Is Capsule Endoscopy Safe?
Capsule Endoscopy is safe for the vast majority of people. To date, over 1.5 million patients have had the PillCam SB procedure. In very rare cases, the capsule can get trapped in the small intestine from a previously undiagnosed stricture.
Gastroenterologists may NOT recommend Capsule Endoscopy for patients experiencing:
What can patients expect?
Our staff will fully explain diet, medication and supplement instructions to follow prior to the procedure. See full instructions here.
The morning of the procedure, you should wear a shirt from natural fibers such as cotton. After arrival, you will swallow the PillCam SB capsule with water. This capsule is about the size of a large vitamin pill and is easy to swallow. You will be fitted with a sensor belt and a data recorder. You can then leave our office and resume your normal daily activities. (You should avoid strenuous activities and/or exercise.) You can drink two hours after swallowing the pill and eat a light lunch four hours after swallowing the pill.
The procedure takes 8 hours. You will be asked to return the sensor belt and recorder to our office at the end of the day. The images will then be downloaded to a computer and your gastroenterologist will review the pictures.
The capsule will pass normally through your body with a bowel movement (usually 1 – 3 days).
Richmond Gastroenterology offers PillCam technology. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Disclaimer: This blog article is intended to be informative and is not medical advice.