What is a Capsule Endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that uses a wireless camera encased in a vitamin-sized capsule to take images of your digestive tract. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera will take thousands of images, which are recorded in an external recorder worn on your body. Doctors will use it to identify the cause of your discomfort.
Capsule endoscopy is usually done to inspect areas of your digestive tract that cannot be easily accessed by traditional endoscopy procedures, such as the small intestinal tract. Your doctor may also recommend a capsule endoscopy to:
- Identify the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Diagnose unexplained and prolonged gastrointestinal pain.
- Screen for tumours, polyps, or ulcers.
Depending on the area of your discomfort, your doctor may recommend tests that may be more suitable, such as a gastroscopy or colonoscopy. Make an appointment to find out which procedure is suitable for you.
What are the risks of Capsule Endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a safe procedure that carries few risks. Most of the time, the capsule will be passed out through your stools within a few days. However, there are occasions when the capsule may become stuck in your digestive tract. The risk may be higher in people with a narrowed intestine or a polyp, as these may cause the capsule to be lodged in your digestive tract.
If the capsule does not get passed in your stool, your doctor may request for additional scans to ensure it is no longer in your body. If it gets stuck and causes symptoms of bowel obstruction, it must be removed, either through surgery or an endoscopic procedure.
What Happens During a Capsule Endoscopy?
You will need to fast the night before your procedure. This helps improve the image quality of the capsule endoscope. You may also be required to undergo a bowel preparation in the form of consuming laxatives before the capsule endoscopy.
On the day of the procedure, you will be required to wear a sensor belt, which will record and store the images transmitted by the capsule endoscope as it travels through your digestive tract. The sensor belt will be worn under your clothing for about eight hours.
You may go about performing regular activities after swallowing the capsule endoscope. However, your doctor may recommend some restrictions, such as avoiding strenuous activities, running and jumping. You may also need to wait a few hours after swallowing the capsule before resuming drinking or eating.
After Capsule Endoscopy
The procedure is complete after eight hours or if you see it in your stools. Follow your doctor’s instructions for removing, storing, and returning the sensor equipment. You can flush the capsule endoscope down the toilet.
As the capsule endoscope will take thousands of photos as it passes through your digestive tract, your doctor will use a special software to string the images into a video. Your doctor will then watch the video to check for any abnormalities in your digestive tract.
You may need to wait for a few days or longer to receive the results of your capsule endoscopy.
Contact your doctor if you do not see the capsule endoscope in your stools after two weeks. It may indicate that the capsule endoscope is still within your body. Your doctor may order additional imaging tests confirm this.
Make An Appointment
Make an appointment online to consult our specialist in gastroenterology at Raffles Internal Medicine Centre. To make an appointment, select "Specialist Appointment". Under Specialist Appointment Details, select "Gastroenterology", and include Capsule Endoscopy in the Remarks.