Capsule endoscopy is the most advanced diagnostic method of obtaining images of the inside of the digestive tract in a non-invasive way.
Capsule endoscopy is a procedure which uses a tiny wireless camera that the patient simply swallows. As the capsule moves along the digestive tract, the camera inside it takes thousands of photos to form a video, which is then analysed by the doctor.
Capsule endoscopy allows the doctor to see the inside of the small intestine, which is the part of the digestive tract that is practically inaccessible using traditional methods (i.e. upper GI endoscopy, colonoscopy). At the same time, it is a safe and well-tolerated diagnostic procedure, which can be done in the outpatient setting in adults and in children 9–10 years of age and older. During capsule endoscopy (i.e. during the recording) the patient is able to carry out their normal daily activities and they do not feel the camera in their body at all.
Contraindications to capsule endoscopy include:
- strictures (pathological narrowings) in the digestive tract or bowel obstruction
- fistula (previously diagnosed)
- swallowing problems and gastrointestinal motility disorders,
- implanted cardiac pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), as the radio waves emitted by the capsule could interfere with these devices and may pose a serious threat to the patient's health or life,
- a history of multiple abdominal surgeries (due to adhesions),
For the capsule endoscopy procedure to be successful and provide images of good quality, the patient must follow their doctor's instructions provided before the procedure.
If your doctor is considering capsule endoscopy for you, you should first see a gastroenterologist, who will examine you to determine your eligibility for the procedure and provide you with all the necessary information about your preparation for the procedure.