Capsule Endoscopy

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What is it and why do I need it?

Capsule endoscopy is a small capsule that contains a light and a tiny camera. The capsule is swallowed, and the camera takes thousands of pictures of the gastrointestinal tract with special attention to the small intestine. It is not intended to examine the esophagus, stomach or colon, which are best examined by upper endoscopy or colonoscopy. It is not meant to replace those exams.

Typically, capsule endoscopy is used to identify sources of unexplained gastrointestinal blood loss that may be coming from the small intestine. It may also be used to evaluate for inflammation in the small intestine, Crohn’s disease and small bowel tumors. 

The risks

The risks of capsule endoscopy are very low but do include small bowel obstruction (the capsule lodges in the small intestine and causes a blockage) that may require surgery. You will need to avoid MRI machines until after the capsule has passed out of your body. If you have concerns about these risks, contact your physician before your procedure. 

The preparation

To ensure optimal visualization of your small intestine, it is necessary to take a bowel prep similar to a colonoscopy.  You are welcome to view and print these instructions (please click on below):

Capsule Endoscopy - Miralax

Capsule Endoscopy - Golytely (Only use if specifically advised by HG staff)

The procedure

On the morning of your appointment, you will meet with one of our Capsule Team members who will prepare you for the procedure. He or she will explain the process to you again and then ask you to swallow the capsule. Under certain conditions, you may need to stay in the office area for a few minutes; you will be instructed to do so if necessary.  Our Capsule Team will give you instructions about eating and drinking during and after the test. 

After the procedure

The capsule takes approximately 8 to 72 hours to exit the body. You will be using a provided toilet hat to retrieve the capsule. You will use a provided Fed Ex package to send the capsule to the lab for processing. All the instructions will be explained to you in detail by the Capsule Team. The captured photos will be downloaded and then interpreted by one of our physicians. You will be able to resume your usual diet and activities. You should be contacted by your ordering physician with the results within 2 weeks, from the time you mail the capsule. 

Instructional forms for your review:

Capsule Endoscopy Consent Form

Capsule Endoscopy Brochure

Capsule Endoscopy - After Ingestion Instructions