A capsule endoscopy is a procedure in which a miniature capsule, similar to the size and shape of a pill, is used to record images through the digestive tract. The capsule is a camera, with its own light source, that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the middle part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the three portions of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum). Your doctor will view the captured images on a video monitor. You might hear your doctor or other medical staff refer to capsule endoscopy as small bowel endoscopy, capsule enteroscopy or wireless endoscopy.
Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate the small intestine. This part of the bowel cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. 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, ulcers and tumors of the small intestine.
How do you prepare for a capsule endoscopy?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 12 hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting.
Speak with you 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. Notify your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker, previous abdominal surgery, or previous history of obstructions in the bowel, inflammatory bowel disease or adhesions.
What should you expect on the day of your endoscopy procedure?
Your doctor/nurse will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor device to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves (similar to tape). The 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 Endoscopy Center and the data recorder will be removed so that images of your small bowel can be put on a computer screen for physician review.
To request an appointment or more information about the procedure, please contact us at (617) 732-7426.