What is capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic technique that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of the digestive tract. The tiny wireless capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-size capsule that is swallowed. As the capsule travels through the digestive tract, the camera takes several thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder worn on a belt around the patient’s waist.
A capsule endoscopy technique helps doctors see inside the small intestine — an area that isn’t easily accessible with more traditional endoscopy procedures.
Why a capsule endoscopy may be required
Capsule endoscopy procedure might be recommended to:
- Detect the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
- Diagnose cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Diagnose celiac disease.
- Examine the oesophagus to look for abnormal, enlarged veins.
- Screen for polyps.
- Do follow-up testing after unclear or inconclusive X-rays or other imaging tests.
- Diagnose ulcerative Colitis.
Capsule endoscopy procedure may also benefit patients suffering from symptoms such as;
- Chronic Abdominal Pain.
- Unexplained Weight Loss.
Preparation for a capsule endoscopy
- Before a capsule endoscopy technique, ensure to get detailed instructions from your doctor and following keenly.
- To ensure and help the camera capture clear images of the digestive tract, eating and drinking must be stopped at least 12 hours before the procedure.
- If need be, a laxative may be prescribed before a capsule endoscopy procedure to flush out the small intestine. This has proven to improve the quality of the pictures collected by the capsule’s camera.
- It is best to avoid medications before the procedure to prevent interference with the camera.
Capsule endoscopy procedure
Before the commencement of a capsule endoscopy procedure, the health care team will review the procedure and prepare you. The preparation includes attaching adhesive patches to your abdomen and strapping the recorder on a special belt around your waist.
As soon as the recorder is connected and ready, the camera capsule is swallowed with water. The slippery coating makes it easier to swallow.
Any likely restrictions will be discussed with you. Possible restrictions include; avoiding strenuous activity, such as running and jumping.
Aftermath of a capsule endoscopy procedure
After swallowing the capsule endoscopy camera, one must wait for two hours to swallow before drinking clear liquids, and four hours before having a light lunch or a snack. Unless one has been told otherwise by the doctor.
The capsule endoscopy procedure completes after eight hours or when the camera capsule gets passed out after a bowel movement, whichever comes first. Upon completion, the patches and the recorder should be removed from the body, packed in a bag and returned. Ensure to follow the doctor’s instructions on returning the equipment.
As soon as the procedure is finished, the body might expel the camera capsule either within hours or after several days. The digestive system of each person differs. However, if you don’t see the capsule in the toilet within two weeks, contact the doctor immediately.
Capsule endoscopy results
The capsule endoscopy camera takes several thousands of coloured pictures as it passes through the digestive tract, which is saved on the recorder. The images saved on the recorder are transmitted to a computer with special software that strings the images together to make a video. The video is watched to look for abnormalities within the digestive tract.
The results of a capsule endoscopy might take a few days to a week or even longer.
What are capsule endoscopy side effects?
Generally, the capsule endoscopy diagnostic technique is a safe procedure. However, there’s a couple of complications that may occur. These may include;The capsule getting stuck in the gastrointestinal tract. This may lead to abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, Bowel obstruction, due to the capsule being stuck in a narrow passage.
How much does capsule endoscopy cost?
Capsule endoscopy cost depends on many factors; such your location and healthcare provider.
The cost of each capsule is around $500. This doesn’t, however, include any additional costs associated with the procedure.
A European study estimated the cost of an inpatient capsule endoscopy procedure to be 1,775.90 Euros (around $2,000), while an outpatient capsule endoscopy procedure saves around 175 to 741 Euros ($200 to $850).
Can I undergo capsule endoscopy while pregnant?
There are very limited studies about the safety of capsule endoscopy in pregnant women. So, for now it’s not recommended.
What condition makes capsule endoscopy unsuitable?
Capsule endoscopy may be decided against if there is;
- Swallowing disorders: This may lead to difficulty swallowing the capsule. There’s also the risk of inhalation.
- Implanted devices like pacemakers or defibrillators: Devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and others may cause interference between the capsule and the recording device.
What are merits of a capsule endoscopy?
The merits of capsule endoscopy technique include:
- Abnormalities, such as inflammation or bleeding, in the small intestine that cannot be visualized with an endoscope or colonoscope can be seen with a capsule endoscopy.
- Abnormalities that don’t show up on x-ray or CAT scan can be seen with a capsule endoscopy.
- It serves as alternative testing to other diagnostic techniques.
Can I eat during a capsule endoscopy?
Two hours after the capsule ingestion, you will be able to drink clear liquids, and 4 hours afterwards, one can have a light meal, unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.