Video Capsule Endoscopy - Topic Overview
What is video capsule endoscopy?
endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine your small intestine
for sources of bleeding. It may be especially helpful for diagnosing
How is it done?
For this procedure, you swallow a
capsule that is less than an inch long (about 23 millimeters). 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 in a day or two.
What are the advantages?
Video capsule endoscopy is
becoming popular because it has several advantages over traditional
- 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 medicine.
- 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
When should it not be used?
Video capsule endoscopy
is generally safe and well tolerated. But it should not be used if you are
known to have intestinal obstructions or narrowing (strictures) or abnormal
connections or openings between two organs or parts of the body (fistulas).