Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy, also called capsule enteroscopy or wireless capsule endoscopy, allows for examination of the small intestine, which cannot be easily reached by traditional methods of endoscopy. Your doctor will have you swallow a pill sized video capsule called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source and will view the images on a video monitor.

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. To achieve the best results, it is important to carefully follow your doctor’s preparation orders.

During the procedure, your doctor 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. At the end of the procedure you will return to the office and the data recorder is removed so that images of your small bowel can be put on a computer screen for your physician to review.

Although complications can occur, they are rare, especially when the procedure is conducted by doctors who are specially trained and experienced. The greatest potential risk is from obstruction. This usually is caused by a narrowing of the intestine from inflammation, prior surgery, or tumor. It’s important to recognize early signs of possible complications such as unusual bloating, pain, and/or vomiting, and call your doctor immediately. Also, if you develop a fever after the test, have trouble swallowing or experience increasing chest pain, tell your doctor immediately. Be careful not to prematurely disconnect the system as this may result in loss of image acquisition.