Capsule Endoscopy

What 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). This part of bowel cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you a pill-sized video camera for you to swallow. This camera has its own light source and takes pictures of your small intestine as it passes through. These pictures are sent to a small recording device you have to wear on your body. 

Your doctor will be able to view these pictures at a later time and might be able to provide you with useful information regarding your small intestine.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy Done?

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, tumors or other diseases of the lining of the small intestine.

How 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 fasting.

Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take including iron, aspirin, bismuth sub-salicylate 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 disease.

Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker or defibrillator, previous abdominal surgery, or previous history of bowel obstructions in the bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, or adhesions.

Your doctor may ask you to do a bowel prep/cleansing prior to the examination.

What 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. Avoid vigorous physical activity such as running or jumping during the study.

What are the Possible Complications of Capsule Endoscopy?

Although complications can occur, they are rare. If you develop unusual bloating, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, fever after the test, have trouble swallowing or experience chest pain, tell your doctor immediately. Be careful not to prematurely disconnect the system as this may result in loss of pictures being sent to your recording device.