Why is Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy Done?

Your doctor may determine that a capsule endoscopy of the small bowel is necessary for further evaluation of your condition. Capsule endoscopy with the PillCam ® SB video capsule will provide your doctor with pictures of your small intestine. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse any additional questions you may have.

What Is pillCam Capsule Endoscopy of the Small Bowel?

Capsule endoscopy with the PillCam SB video capsule enables your doctor to examine your entire small intestine. Your doctor will have you ingest a video capsule that has its own camera and light source. You can move freely during the exam, which lasts about eight hours. While the video capsule travels through your body, it sends images to a data recorder you will wear close to your waist. Afterward, your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?

You will receive preparation instructions before the examination. An empty stomach allows optimal viewing conditions, so you should start a liquid diet after lunch the day prior to the examination and have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 10 hours before a small bowel examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting. Tell your doctor in advance about any medication you take as you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination. Inform your doctor if you have a pacemaker or other electromedical devices. Report any previous abdominal surgery, swallowing problems, or previous history of obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract.

What Happens during PillCAm Capsule endoscopy?

Your doctor or nurse will prepare you for the examination by placing sensors on your abdomen. The video capsule is swallowed with water and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder that you will wear close to your waist. You will be able to eat four hours after the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. The examination is over approximately eight hours after the capsule is ingested.

What Happens After PillCam Capsule Endoscopy?

At the end of the procedure, the data recorder and sensors will be removed and the images acquired during your exam will be downloaded to a workstation for your doctor to review. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination or be in the vicinity of an MRI machine.

How Will I know the Results of the Procedure?

After you return the equipment, your doctor will process the information from the data recorder and will view a color video of the pictures taken by the capsule. After the doctor has looked at this video, you should be contacted with the results.

How Does the Capsule Get Eliminated and Will I Feel it when it comes out?

The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.

What are the Possible Complications of Capsule Endoscopy?

Although complications may occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. A potential risk could be retention of the capsule. It is important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing, or increasing chest or abdominal pain, contact your doctor immediately.