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Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

St. Mary's Endoscopy Suite Treatment & Procedures -
Capsule Endoscopy

What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy with PillCamTM SB video capsule enables your doctor to examine your entire small intestine. Your doctor will have you ingest a vitamin-pill sized video capsule, which has its own camera and light source.

During the eight hour exam, you are free to move about. While the video capsule travels through your body, it sends images to a data recorder you will wear on a waist belt. Most patients find the test comfortable. Afterwards your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy of the Small Bowel Performed?

Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases, this method can also help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or monitor the effect of therapy. Your doctor might use capsule endoscopy to obtain motility data such as gastric or small bowel passage time.

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 medications you take as you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination. Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices, previous abdominal surgery, swallowing problem or previous history of obstructions in the bowel.

What Can I Expect During Capsule Endoscopy?

The doctor or nurse will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor array to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves. The capsule endoscope is ingested with water and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight hours. You will be able to eat four hours after the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What Happens After Capsule Endoscopy?

At the end of the procedure, you will need to go back to your doctor to return the data recorder and sensor array. The images acquired during your exam will then 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 near an MRI machine.

How Will I Know the Results of the Capsule Endoscopy?

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 from the capsule. After the doctor has looked at this video, you will be contacted with the results.

How Does the Capsule Get Eliminated, and Will I Feel It Come 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, tell your doctor immediately.

Registration and Parking

Please feel free to park in any of the visitor parking lots. Enter through the hospital main entrance and report to the front lobby registration desk. You and your family will then be directed to the Endoscopy Suite. If you have any questions, please call (812) 485-4911.


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