Capsule endoscopy is a technology that uses a swallowed video capsule to take photographs of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. For capsule endoscopy, the intestines are first cleared of residual food and bacterial debris with the use of laxatives that are used before a colonoscopy. A large capsule is swallowed by the patient. The capsule contains a camera, a light source, a battery, and a radio transmitter. As the capsule travels through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, it takes two pictures a second for 8 hours. The photographs are transmitted by the radio transmitter to a small receiver that is worn on the waist of the patient who is undergoing the capsule endoscopy. The patient is free to move about during the 8 hour exam. At the end of the procedure, the photographs are downloaded from the receiver into a computer, and the images are later reviewed. The capsule is passed by the patient into the toilet and flushed away. It does not need to be retrieved.
Capsule endoscopy can help the doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia. Some common examples of small intestinal diseases diagnosed by capsule endoscopy include:
Please see the Procedure Instructions section in our website.
While the capsule provides the best means of viewing the inside of the small intestine, there are some inherent limitations and problems with its use, the most important of which is that the capsule does not allow for therapy. Other problems include: