Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy helps doctors examine the small intestine. Because traditional procedures, such as an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy, cannot reach this part of the bowel, capsule endoscopy may be helpful in identifying causes of bleeding, detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers and tumors of the small intestine. A pillcam, a tiny camera contained in a capsule, is swallowed. The pillcam passes naturally through the digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder. The data recorder is secured to a patient's waist by a belt for eight hours. Images of the small bowel are downloaded to a computer from the data recorder. The images are reviewed by a doctor on a computer screen. Normally, the pillcam passes through the colon and is eliminated in the stool within 24 hours.