Capsule Endoscopy

Learn what to expect during a capsule endoscopy procedure. Including procure benefits, alternatives, associated risks, preparation, and follow-up steps. Doctors have historically diagnosed gastrointestinal issues or colon problems. Particularly, using traditional endoscopy. They employ a thin, flexible tube-like instrument fitted with a camera and a light.

The doctor lowers this tube down the throat or inserts it up through the rectum. Depending on what issue the doctor is diagnosing. Sometimes, traditional endoscopy cannot reach the location in question. However, fortunately, doctors can diagnose these areas using capsule endoscopy.

Capsule Endoscopy - Procedure Overview

Doctors can diagnose many conditions using capsule endoscopy. Because it helps them look inside a patient’s small intestine, which traditional endoscopy cannot access. They sometimes call this procedure a small bowel capsule endoscopy.

The patient swallows a vitamin-size capsule containing a tiny camera. Evidently it takes thousands of pictures as it travels through the patient’s digestive tract. The patient wears a special recording device on a belt around their waist. That receives the transmitted pictures.

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Who is a Good Candidate for Capsule Endoscopy?

The procedure is a suitable diagnostic tool for patients. Especially those over 10 years old and able to swallow the capsule. The FDA has approved capsule endoscopy in the United States for children 2 years and older. However, doctors must manually place the capsule near the entrance to the small intestine. Patients who have a condition that causes narrowing in the digestive tract may not be suitable candidates for this procedure.

Which Conditions do Doctors Diagnose?

The most common reason for utilizing capsule endoscopy is to search for the cause of bleeding in the small intestine. It is also helpful for detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers, or other small intestine bowel issues. Additionally, doctors often investigate other conditions through the procedure, including:

How do Doctors Perform Capsule Endoscopy?

First, the doctor fits the patient with a series of sensory patches. Furthermore, it will help assist with the collection of images. And then they fit the recording device around the waist on a belt. Next, the patient will swallow the capsule with water and return home. The capsule begins recording images and will continue for 8-12 hours. The patient will be active and awake. While the capsule moves through the digestive tract. But they will not feel anything out of the ordinary.

Moreover, the doctor will provide specific instructions to patients. Regarding resuming eating and any activity restrictions they may have. Normally, patients can begin consuming clear liquids after about 2 hours and solid foods and/or medications after about 4 hours.

At a predetermined time, the patient will return to the office. Consequently, the doctor will disconnect the recording device to retrieve the video/images. The patient can return home and the capsule should pass naturally within 48 hours. Lastly, the capsules designed for one-time use and do not harm plumbing or the environment.

Capsule Endoscopy

How do I Prepare for the Procedure?

It is important that patients properly prep for a capsule endoscopy and the doctor will give each patient specific instructions. It is important to follow these instructions. And do not eat or drink anything for the appropriate amount of time before the exam. The doctor will also provide directions about taking your necessary medications.

When do I get the Results of the Exam?

The doctor will review the video and generate a report. Subsequently, patients may receive the results. Either over the phone, via video consultation, or through an in-person scheduled follow-up appointment.

What are the Benefits of Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule Endoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy is a safe, easy, non-invasive, technique. Effectively allows doctors to perform a complete diagnostic of the small intestine.

  • This endoscopic technology represents a significant advancement. As well as serves as a great tool for aiding in the accurate diagnosis of gastrointestinal issues.

  • Additionally, it facilitates the administration of effective treatments.

What are the Alternatives to Capsule Endoscopy?

Alternative tests to capsule endoscopy include barium studies of the intestine. Although, these tests are often inadequate for small bowel pathology.

What are the Risks of Capsule Endoscopy?

While possible complications exist for any procedure, capsule endoscopy is safe and associated with low risk. The most common concern arises from the possibility that the body will retain the capsule. Preventing it from traveling the distance for elimination. However, this occurrence only happens in about 5% of cases. In extremely rare instances, surgical capsule removal may be necessary, affecting less than 1% of cases.

Furthermore, the capsule might experience delays as it passes through the small bowel. As a result, causing the recording to end prematurely before the capsule completes its journey.

How much does the Procedure cost?

The cost of the procedure will vary by patient depending on several factors. The average cost of capsule endoscopy in the United States is $2,100 and can vary with insurance coverage. During your consultation, we will discuss the cost of your procedure in detail. Equally important, for insurance purposes, the CPT code for capsule endoscopy is 91110).

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues with unexplained bleeding or other concerns. Call us or schedule a teleconsultation Our expert medical team assists and answers your questions to address your concerns.