Video Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam)

Video capsule endoscopy (often referred to as the PillCam) enables your doctor to examine your entire small intestine, a part of the bowel that is difficult to reach through the upper GI tract and cannot be reached by colonoscopy, using a pill-sized video device that has its own camera and light source. Most commonly, video capsule endoscopy is used to search for the cause of bleeding from the small intestine. It may also be useful for evaluation of other diseases and abnormalities affecting the small intestine, including, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, and tumors.

What to Expect

You will be given a pill-sized video device to swallow, which will take pictures as it passes through your digestive tract. These pictures will be transmitted to a data recorder that you will wear around your waist. After the test has been administered, you may move freely and return home to follow a modified routine. You will be given instructions regarding diet and activities during the procedure period, which lasts about 8 hours. At the end of the procedure, you will return to your physician who will review the images captured by the data recorder. Most patients are comfortable during this exam. The capsule typically passes naturally and painlessly.

How to Prepare

This procedure requires an empty stomach and you will be instructed not to eat or drink for approximately 12 hours before the procedure. Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you are taking as you may be instructed to avoid certain medications or to adjust your usual dose prior to your procedure.

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