A capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a patient swallows a vitamin-sized capsule that contains a miniature, wireless camera that will take thousands of pictures as it travels through the digestive system. A capsule endoscopy allows the gastroenterologist to see pictures of the small intestine, the middle of the digestive tract that is not easily reached through an endoscopy.
The pictures are sent to a computer by a recorder the size of a cell phone that the patient wears after swallowing the capsule. The images are transmitted to a sensory array placed in the patient's abdomen. The gastroenterologist can watch the images played together as a video and find any abnormalities in the patient’s intestines. The results will take a few days to process after the images are sent to the doctor’s office.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE PROCEDURE
The camera inside the capsule takes pictures for 8 to 12 consecutive hours. Eating and drinking may be limited during and before the procedure as per the gastroenterologist’s instructions.
The patient will wear adhesive patches on their abdomen that contain wires connected to the recorder. The recorder is either worn on a belt around the patient’s waist or across the patient’s shoulder.
The patient can perform daily activities that do not require strenuous movement. Any stretches, jumps, quick turns, etc. could disrupt the recorder.
The capsule is passed through a bowel movement and is safe to flush. After 8 to 12 hours the patient is asked to come back to the hospital and return the recorder, and all sensors can be removed at that time.