Capsule endoscopy is the only noninvasive procedure that can provide good images of your small intestine, making it an exceptional tool for diagnosing the cause of generic symptoms such as bleeding. The team at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists specializes in traditional and capsule endoscopy, carefully evaluating the results to give you an accurate diagnosis.
What is a capsule endoscopy?
A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a small, wireless camera to take images of your digestive tract. The camera is enclosed in a vitamin-sized capsule that you swallow.
As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, it takes thousands of pictures, capturing a 360º view of the intestinal lining.
While capsule endoscopy initially targeted the small intestine, an area that isn’t easy to reach with traditional endoscopy, today’s advanced technology has allowed the experts to develop different types of capsules to capture images of the esophagus and colon.
When might I need a capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is especially beneficial for finding the cause of bleeding in the small intestine. The procedure also helps diagnose conditions such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Small bowel tumors
- Anemia and intestinal bleeding
If the team at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists needs additional information following a colonoscopy, they may use a capsule that’s specially made to take images of the colon.
What should I expect during a capsule endoscopy?
To get clear images of the digestive tract lining, it’s important for your intestines to be as clean as possible. You’ll receive detailed pre-procedure instructions about when to start fasting and how to take other medications such as a laxative.
As a general guideline, patients can’t eat or drink for about 10 hours before their scheduled procedure.
The images from the capsule are transmitted to a small data recorder in a belt placed around your waist. The belt has small sensors that your provider at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists attaches to your skin.
Once all the sensors are in place, you swallow the camera capsule with a glass of water, then you can get back to your usual activities, with one caveat: You’ll need to avoid movements that may disrupt the camera. Your provider at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists explains any restrictions before you leave the office.
At the end of eight hours, you’ll go back to the office. Your provider removes the data recorder, reviews the images, and compiles the results. However, it can take several weeks to thoroughly evaluate the images and determine a diagnosis.
The capsule naturally passes through your body and is eliminated painlessly during a bowel movement.