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Capsule Endoscopy


Dr. Mansfield
Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that allows a provider to view the lining of the middle part of the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, which includes the three parts of the small intestine -- the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Dr. Malone, can you tell us more about capsule endoscopy?

Dr. Malone
Of course, Dr. Mansfield. Capsule endoscopy helps providers visually evaluate the inside of the small intestine, which cannot be reached by traditional upper GI endoscopy or by colonoscopy. This procedure is useful in evaluating a number of problems, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Polyps
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcers, and
  • Tumors

For a capsule endoscopy, the patient is given a pill-sized video camera, or capsule endoscope, to swallow. The camera has its own light source and takes pictures of the small intestine as it passes through. The pictures are either stored within the capsule or transmitted to a small recording device that is worn by the patient, depending on the type of capsule used. Pictures are usually taken for about eight hours.

In most cases, patients are allowed to drink clear liquids two hours after ingesting the capsule and eat a light meal four hours after ingestion. Vigorous physical activity, such as running and jumping, should be avoided during the study. The capsule leaves the body during a bowel movement and can be safely flushed down the toilet or retrieved, depending on the type of capsule.