Capsule endoscopy uses a tiny wireless camera, which is swallowed by the patient. As the capsule moves through the patient’s digestive tract, it takes thousands of pictures which are transmitted to a recording device that is worn by the patient. This procedure allows a doctor to see inside a patient’s small intestine, an area that is not easily accessible with traditional endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy can also be used to screen the colon for polyps.
A video capsule endoscopy is recommended to diagnose the following conditions:
The patient will have adhesive patches with receptors attached to his or her abdomen to receive the images from the capsule. The device will be worn on a special belt. Once the recorder is set, the patient will swallow the capsule and then go about his or her day. The doctor will provide advice on any activity levels. The patient will need to wait for two hours before beginning to consume clear liquids and at least four hours before eating anything, even a light snack. The procedure is considered complete after eight hours or after the capsule is expelled in a bowel movement, whichever comes first. At that point, the patient can remove the patches and recorder, then follow the instructions on returning the equipment to the doctor. The capsule can be flushed down the toilet. Every person’s digestive tract is different so the capsule may pass within hours or a few days. If the capsule does not appear within two weeks, the patient should contact the doctor to make sure it has not lodged in the intestine.
The doctor will review the images collected by the video capsule checking for any abnormalities or signs of damage. It may take between a few days and two weeks for the results to be available for the doctor to share with the patient. If there are any indications of disease or damage, the doctor will make follow up appointments to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment.
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