Examines Portions of the Small Intestine
At Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs (GACS) a capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a pill-sized wireless camera to visually examine the inside lining of the three portions of the small intestine, which includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The camera will take a series of photographs as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. These photographs are sent wirelessly to a small recording device that is worn on the body. The photographs are then downloaded to a computer about 24 hours after the procedure. The capsule will then be passed through the digestive tract by the patient.
Reason for a Capsule Endoscopy Procedure
While portions of the intestine can be seen during a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy procedure, these procedures are unable to provide a complete view of the small intestine. The capsule is able to provide a view of the small intestine and is helpful in detecting some of the following conditions:
• Intestinal bleeding
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Celiac disease, especially at the center of the stomach
While this procedure can provide a more accurate and detailed result than an X-ray, capsule endoscopy is unable to perform therapy in the area of concern. This proceedure is a rapidly improving technology that is making conditions of the small intestine much easier to diagnose.
About the Procedure
Your doctor will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor device to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves (similar to tape). The pill-sized capsule endoscope is swallowed and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on your belt for approximately eight hours. At the end of the procedure, you will return to the office and the data recorder is removed so that images of your small bowel can be put on a computer screen for physician review.
Most patients consider the test comfortable. The capsule endoscope is about the size of a large pill. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted you should not be near an MRI device or schedule an MRI examination.
How to Prepare
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 subsalicylate 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.
You will be able to drink clear liquids after two hours and eat a light meal after four hours following the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. You will have to avoid vigorous physical activity such as running or jumping during the study. Your doctor generally can tell you the test results within the week following the procedure; however, the results of some tests might take longer.
Source: ASGE “Understanding Capsule Endoscopy”