What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule Endoscopy illustration

Advanced technologies, such as capsule endoscopies, allow us to photograph the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, revolutionizing diagnostic capabilities as we examine the small intestine. As traditional methods involve passing a long, flexible tube with a video attached, down your throat or through your rectum, this cutting-edge procedure provides a way to examine the part of GI tract that cannot be reached with conventional endoscopies (upper endoscopy and colonoscopy).

Am I a candidate?

There are various reason your doctor may recommend you have a capsule endoscopy. This procedure is often done to:

  • Determine cause of unexplained bleeding in your digestive tract.
  • Reveal areas of inflammation in your small intestine, sometimes an indication of an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease.
  • Show tumors—diagnosing cancer—in your small intestine.
  • Monitor celiac disease.
  • Screen for polyps in your small intestine.
  • Gather information after an inconclusive X-ray.

The Process—What to Expect

One the day of the procedure:

  • Our team will go over each step with you, so there will be no surprises.
  • We will attach adhesive patches to your abdomen.
  • The patches will contain wires that connect to a recorder.
  • You will swallow a small pill-sized camera that you won’t feel inside of you.
  • You go about your day!

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Things to remember once you’ve swallowed the capsule:

  • Wait 2 hours before drinking clear liquids.
  • Wait 4 hours before having a snack.
  • After 8 hours, remove the patches and recorder from your body and return to us.
  • Within hours or days, you will find the capsule in the toilet after a bowel movement. Flush it down.

The small wireless camera (the size of a large pill) captures thousands of pictures of the entire small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) as it passes through the body. The images are saved on the recorder and transferred to a computer with special software that creates a video. Dr. Lotsu will analyze the video, looking for abnormalities within your digestive tract.

In Preparation

  • Do not eat or drink within 12 hours of the procedure to ensure clear images.
  • Discontinue taking certain medications. Dr. Lotsu will evaluate your particular case and make recommendations accordingly.
  • Plan to take it easy the day of the procedure.

Diseases that may be diagnosed via video capsule include abnormal blood vessels that bleed, called angioectasia, Crohn’s disease, tumors/cancer, and strictures, narrowing within the small intestine.