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Capsule Endoscopy

What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule Endoscopy enables your doctor to examine the small intestine. Your doctor will use a vitamin-pill sized video capsule that has its own camera and light source. While the video capsule travels through your body, images are sent to a data recorder you will wear on a waist belt. Most patients consider the test comfortable. Afterwards your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy performed?

Capsule Endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bleeding or anaemia, in most cases where other diagnostic procedures failed to determine the reason for your symptoms. In certain gastrointestinal diseases, the method can also help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or monitor the effects of therapy.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

If you are on iron tablets you must stop these at least 5 days before the procedure.

After lunch on the day before the Capsule Endoscopy you may only have clear liquids.

From 8 pm the evening before Capsule Endoscopy, do not eat or drink except for necessary medication that you may take with a sip of water.

Do not take any medication beginning 2 hours before undergoing Capsule Endoscopy.

Abstain from smoking 24 hours prior to undergoing Capsule Endoscopy.

Arrive at the rooms dressed in comfortable, loose fitting, two piece clothing.

You will have a pre-procedure interview. At this interview, tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker, have had previous abdominal surgery or bowel obstruction or have a swallowing problem.

What can I expect during Capsule Endoscopy?

A sensor array will be applied to your abdomen with adhesive pads and connected to a data recorder that you will wear on a belt around your waist. The capsule is then swallowed with a glass of water. You may drink clear liquids 2 hours after swallowing the capsule and eat a light meal 4 hours after swallowing the capsule.

What happens after Capsule Endoscopy?

At the end of the procedure, 8 hours after swallowing the capsule, the data recorder and sensory arrays will then be removed. The images obtained during your exam will be downloaded to a computer for the doctor to review. The capsule is disposable and passes naturally in a bowel movement, typically in about 24 hours. Most likely, you will be unaware of its passage.

What are the possible complications?

Although complications may occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. A potential risk could be retention of the capsule and bowel obstruction. If you develop increasing chest or abdominal pain, fever or trouble swallowing, tell your doctor immediately.

Capsule EndoscopyClick here to know more about Capsule Endoscopy.


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© Dr. Ilmars Lidums MBBS PhD FRACP Gastroenterologist Kensington Gastroenterology Rose Park SA

The University of Adelaide Burnside Hospital GESA - Gastroenterological Society of Australia Calvary Wakefield Hospital North Eastern Community Hospital (NECH) AMA - Australian Medical Association The Royal Australasian College of Physicians