PillCam is a form of capsule endoscopy, where an ingestible tablet-sized device helps detect problems in your small intestine. The capsule-shaped PillCam device is equipped with a miniaturized camera, light source, antenna, radio transmitter and batteries.
PillCam is indicated for Crohn’s disease, small bowel tumors and obscure bleeding, but is contraindicated if a GI obstruction, fistula or stricture is suspected, or you have an implanted electro-medical device such as a cardiac pacemaker.
Before using this diagnostic tool, you are required to fast for 10 hours. You will be given the PillCam capsule, which can be easily swallowed with a sip of water. As the capsule passes down your gastrointestinal tract, images of the tract are captured over a period of 8 hours. These images are transmitted from the capsule to a receiver worn on your wrist. The images can be transferred to a computer for your doctor to review. Within 24 hours, the ingested capsule is safely passed out from your body through your bowels.
PillCam is more advantageous than the common diagnostic tools including endoscopy and radiological imaging. Endoscopy involves the insertion of a long lighted tube with camera through the mouth under sedation to view the tract. Radiological imaging requires you to swallow a radioactive dye, which is detected through X-ray imaging. PillCam does not require sedation, recovery period or exposure to potentially harmful radiation, and is more accurate than radiological imaging. It is a safe and painless procedure, but unlike endoscopy, PillCam is limited to only diagnosis and cannot be used for therapy.