What is this procedure?
A capsule endoscopy (sometimes a called capsule enterscopy or small bowel endoscopy) is a procedure during which the patient swallows a tiny camera placed into a vitamin-sized capsule. The camera takes pictures as it makes its way through the digestive tract. These pictures are transmitted to a computer worn on a belt around the waist. These images allow a gastroenterologist to view the interior walls of the small intestine, which is difficult to reach through more traditional endoscopy methods. After the capsule has traveled through the digestive system, it exits the body painlessly in the stool.
Why would one need this type of procedure?
Your gastroenterologist may recommend this procedure in order to help diagnose the cause of symptoms, or to confirm diagnosis of a certain condition. A capsule endoscopy can be helpful in determining the origin of gastrointestinal bleeding, and to check the small intestine for polyps. It can also aid in the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as help to find cancer, or precancerous polyps.
Is this type of procedure safe? What are the risks?
Yes, capsule endoscopy is generally very safe, but if you have a partial blockage in the bowel, there’s a slight chance the capsule may become lodged in your intestine. However, this is extremely rare.
How can this procedure help me?
If you have experienced any symptoms which may be related to inflammatory bowel diseases or colon cancer, it can be a safe and reliable diagnostic procedure. Successful treatment of any gastrointestinal disease depends upon early diagnosis. Please give us a call if you have any questions – we are here to help!