Capsule endoscopy (en DOS-skuh-pee) enables the physician to look inside the small intestine. The procedure might be used to discover a source of bleeding suspected to be in the small bowel, diagnose Crohn’s disease or look for small bowel tumors or changes of celiac disease.
For the procedure you will swallow a small capsule, about the size of a vitamin tablet. This will transmit images to storage device that you wear. Right before the procedure the nurse will attach a sensor array to your abdomen using sticky pads similar to those used for an EKG of your heart. A sash containing a data recorder is then worn. The capsule transmits images of the small bowel to the hard drive over the course of 8 hours, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of the small intestine. The test is begun in the morning and you are able to leave the physicians office, returning in the afternoon to drop off the sash. The process is completely painless and the capsule does not need to be retrieved, passing naturally in the next few days. The physician then uses special software to create a movie from the images obtained which is then reviewed.
A possible complication of capsule endoscopy is capsule retention. This occurs rarely in patients with intestinal strictures, either from past inflammatory intestinal diseases or bowel resections. However, this complication is very uncommon. Most people will not notice the capsule at all. No sedation is needed.
Please contact us at our office for additional questions regarding capsule endoscopy.
Your stomach and small bowel must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 10 hours beforehand. You must also drink one ounce of milk of magnesia to clear out any residue in the small intestine. You may drive yourself to and from the office for the test. Depending on your medical history, our physicians may give you other special instructions.