is Capsule Endoscopy?
Capsule Endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of
the middle part of your gastrointestinal tract, which
includes the three portions of the small intestine
(duodenum, jejunum, ileum). Your doctor will use 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. You might hear your doctor or other medical staff
refer to capsule endoscopy as small bowel endoscopy,
capsule enteroscopy, or wireless endoscopy.
is Capsule Endoscopy Done?
Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate the small
intestine. This part of the bowel cannot be reached by
traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. 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
As is the case with most new diagnostic procedures, not
all insurance companies are currently reimbursing for this
procedure. You may need to check with your own insurance
company to ensure that this is a covered benefit.
Should I Prepare for the Procedure?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest
examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink,
including water, for approximately twelve hours before the
examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start
Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take
including iron, aspirin, bismuth subsalicylate products
and other “over-the-counter” medications. You might
need to adjust your usual dose prior to the examination.
Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical
conditions, such as swallowing disorders and heart or lung
Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker, previous
abdominal surgery, or previous history of obstructions in
the bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, or adhesions.
Can I Expect During Capsule Endoscopy?
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 physician
Happens After Capsule Endoscopy?
You will be able to drink clear liquids after two hours
and eat a light meal after four hours following the
capsule ingestion, unless your doctor instructs you
otherwise. You will have to avoid vigorous physical
activity such as running or jumping during the study. Your
doctor generally can tell you the test results within the
week following the procedure; however, the results of some
tests might take longer./font>
What are the Possible Complications of Capsule
Although complications can occur, they are rare when
doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this
procedure, such as members of the American Society for
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, perform the test. Potential
risks include complications from obstruction. This usually
relates to a stricture (narrowing) of the intestine from
inflammation, prior surgery, or tumor. It’s important to
recognize early signs of possible complications. If you
have evidence of obstruction, such as unusual bloating,
pain, and/or vomiting, 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