Capsule endoscopy is used to examine the lining in the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities. It is helpful in taking pictures of the digestive tract including esophagus, stomach and especially small intestine. Small intestine is a difficult area to reach through conventional endoscopy and other imaging tests as it lies between the stomach and large intestine. The capsule contains a camera, a bulb, battery and a transmitter. The camera takes thousands of pictures of the digestive tract during its passage through the digestive tract and transmits it to a recorder worn as a belt on the waist for about 24 hours to store the images.
The common diseases of small intestine that are diagnosed through capsule endoscopy are:
It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure otherwise the test may need to be repeated in case the images are not clear.
Steps of the capsule endoscopy process include:
If you do not see the capsule in the stool, please contact your doctor. Your doctor may take few days to a week to analyze the video and would tell you the results of the test.
As with any procedure, capsule endoscopy involves certain risks and potential complications. It is a non-invasive and safe procedure. The only risk is that at times the capsule gets stuck in the digestive tract and doesn’t come out even after two weeks. This is not a serious risk. The doctor will wait for some more time for it to come out on its own but if it causes bowel obstruction it is taken out through conventional endoscopy or last resort is surgery.
Capsule endoscopy is a best way to look inside the small intestine. But it cannot allow for any treatment of a condition or disease.
Capsule endoscopy also has its limitations. They are: