Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy
Understanding PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy
Your doctor has determined that a PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy is necessary for further evaluation of your condition. PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy will provide your doctor with pictures of your small intestine. This information has been prepared to help you understand the procedure. It includes answers to questions most frequently asked by patients. Please read it carefully.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to discuss them with your doctor or nurse before the procedure is scheduled.
What is a PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?
PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy enables your doctor to examine the three portions (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) of your small intestine. Your doctor will use a vitamin-pill sized video capsule as an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source. While the video capsule travels through your body, images are sent to a datarecorder you will wear on a waistbelt. Afterwards your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.
Why is PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy Performed?
PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia after a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy has been performed without revealing a diagnosis. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases the method can also help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or monitor the effect of therapeutics. Your doctor might use PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy to obtain motility data such as gastric or small bowel passage time.
How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?
You will receive accurate preparation instructions the day before the examination. An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately ten hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting. Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take; you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination. Tell your doctor of the presence of a pacemaker, previous abdominal surgery, swallowing problem or previous history of obstructions in the bowel.
What Can I Expect During PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?
Your doctor will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor array to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves. The PillCam™ capsule endoscope is ingested and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight hours. The PillCam™ capsule endoscope doesn't interfere with your breathing; most patients consider the test comfortable. You will be able to eat after four hours following the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
What Happens After PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?
At the end of the procedure, you will need to return to the office to return the data recorder and sensor arrays. The images acquired during your exam will be downloaded to a workstation for physician review. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have an MRI examination nor be near a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a radiologic imaging device.
How will I Know the Results of the PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?
After you return the equipment (waist belt, data recorder, battery pack & sensor array), your doctor will process the information from the DataRecorder. The doctor 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 PillCam™ Capsule Get Eliminated And Will I Feel It Come Out?
The PillCam™ Capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.
What are the Possible Complications of PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?
Although complications may occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. Potential risks include complications from obstruction and 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.
Information and photos courtesy of Given Imaging