What is capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that evaluates the small intestine (including the subsections known as the duodenum, jejunum and ileum), the portion of the digestive tract located between the stomach and the colon. This area can be difficult to examine with a traditional upper endoscopy (link to upper endoscopy page) or colonoscopy. In addition, capsule endoscopy can provide clearer images of the intestine lining than other imaging tests.
Capsule endoscopy may aid in diagnosing conditions including:
- Cancer: This procedure can identify tumors that would otherwise be difficult to find, and may be used in conjunction with CT enterography to help find tumors located within the intestinal wall.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding: Capsule endoscopy can find the source of intestinal bleeding.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases: Areas of inflammation may be found to assist in diagnosing various types of this condition, such as Crohn’s disease.
- Polyps: Polyps are small, benign growths that can be found growing on the wall of the intestines. This procedure is used to find their location so that they may be removed.
- Ulcers: Capsule endoscopy may be used to locate an ulcer, an open sore caused by a break in the mucous membrane of the intestine that fails to heal.
What to expect during the procedure
During the procedure, the patient is asked to swallow a vitamin-sized capsule containing a small wireless camera complete with its own lens and light source nested inside. As the pill passes through the digestive tract, the camera transmits images to a recording device kept on the patient for approximately eight hours. During that time, rigorous activity such as running and jumping should be avoided to ensure accurate results.
At the end of the procedure, the recording device is returned to the physician for data analysis, and the capsule will pass naturally and be excreted.
For more information on capsule endoscopy or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.