Capsule endoscopy is a procedure in which the patient swallows a vitamin-sized capsule containing a tiny wireless camera that takes pictures of your digestive tract as it travels through your body. The pictures are transmitted to a recorder that is generally worn on a belt around the patient’s waist. The entire procedure lasts about 8 hours and the patient at the end passes the capsule.
The capsule endoscopy procedure allows doctors to view the small intestine in a non-intrusive way. It is painless to the patient and incredibly insightful for the doctor. Traditionally, an endoscopy required passing a long tube down the patient’s throat and out through his or her rectum in order to see the small intestine. Capsule endoscopy is much easier and comfortable and still achieves the same results.
Capsule endoscopy has also improved doctors’ ability to diagnose problems in the intestine. The camera that travels through the body is extremely sensitive, allowing even the most subtle abnormalities to be detected and examined in a simple and non-invasive way. Diseases that are commonly detected by capsule endoscopy are Crohn’s disease, small intestinal tumors such as lymphoma and small intestinal cancer, as well as angiodysplasias.