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Tri-State Gastroenterology Associates

Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy

Video Capsule Endoscopy

What is video capsule endoscopy?

Video capsule endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine your small intestine for sources of bleeding. It may be especially helpful for diagnosing Crohn's disease.

How is it done?

For this procedure, you swallow a capsule that is less than an inch long (about 23 mm). A technician attaches sensors to your chest and connects them to a data recorder that you wear on a belt around your waist. The capsule contains a tiny video camera. As the capsule travels through your gastrointestinal tract, the camera takes pictures and sends them to the data recorder. After 8 hours, the technician removes the data recorder and looks at the pictures. The capsule passes out of your body in the stool within a day or two.

What are the advantages?

Video capsule endoscopy is becoming popular because it has several advantages over traditional endoscopy:

  • It can show the entire small intestine and thus may be better at finding sources of bleeding.
  • It is not invasive. In traditional endoscopy, a thin, lighted tube is inserted down your throat.
  • It is painless, so you do not need to take pain medication.
  • You do not have to stay in the hospital.
  • You have to fast for 12 hours before swallowing the capsule, but it does not require other preparation.