Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure used to examine the small bowel. It is a non-invasive way of providing your doctor with visual images of your small bowel using an electronic, pill-sized, photographic camera inside a capsule.

What happens?

It involves swallowing a small pill-sized capsule, which contains a colour camera, battery, light source and transmitter. The camera takes two pictures every second for eight hours, transmitting images to a data recorder about the size of a portable CD player that you wear around your waist.

Once swallowed the camera moves naturally through the digestive tract. Approximately eight hours after ingesting the camera, the recording device is removed, and the images downloaded to a computer and evaluated. The capsule is disposable and will be passed naturally in the bowel movement.

What are the risks?

As with all medical procedures, there can be risks involved. The main risk associated with capsule endoscopy is intestinal obstruction, where the capsule becomes lodged in a narrowed area of the small bowel. This is estimated to occur in less than 0.75% of cases. In the rare instances when this occurs, an endoscopy or an operation may be required to remove the capsule