Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-size capsule you swallow. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder you wear on a belt around your waist.

Capsule endoscopy helps doctors see inside your small intestine — an area that isn't easily reached with more-traditional endoscopy procedures. Traditional endoscopy involves passing a long, flexible tube equipped with a video camera down your throat or through your rectum.

Why it's done

Your doctor might recommend a capsule endoscopy procedure to:

 

  • Find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to explore unexplained bleeding in the small intestine.

  • Diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease. Capsule endoscopy can reveal areas of inflammation in the small intestine.

  • Diagnose cancer. Capsule endoscopy can show tumors in the small intestine or other parts of the digestive tract.

  • Diagnose celiac disease. Capsule endoscopy is sometimes used in diagnosing and monitoring this immune reaction to eating gluten.

  • Examine your esophagus. Capsule endoscopy has also been approved to evaluate the muscular tube that connects your mouth and your stomach (esophagus) to look for abnormal, enlarged veins (varices).

  • Screen for polyps. People who have inherited syndromes that can cause polyps in the small intestine might occasionally undergo capsule endoscopy.

  • Do follow-up testing after X-rays or other imaging tests. If the results of an imaging test are unclear or inconclusive, your doctor might recommend a capsule endoscopy to get more information.

Capsule Endoscopy