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Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is a test done to take pictures of the digestive tract. It uses a capsule with a tiny camera in it. The capsule is swallowed like a pill. As the capsule travels through the digestive tract, it takes pictures. These pictures are sent to a recorder that is worn outside the body. The capsule passes out of the body through the stool within a few days. Capsule endoscopy is most often done to check for problems in the small bowel (intestine). These problems include bleeding and tumors. The test can also help diagnose Crohn's disease. This is a condition that causes inflammation, sores, and narrowing of the bowel.

Before the Test

The capsule is a tiny camera that takes pictures as it moves through the digestive tract.
  • Let your doctor know of any medications you're taking. This includes vitamins, herbs, and over-the-counter medications. Certain medications may need to be stopped for a time in the days before the test.

  • Switch to a clear liquid diet 16 hours before the test.

  • Don't eat anything starting from 12 hours before the test.

  • Use a laxative if you've been told to do so. This may be needed to help clear your bowels before the test.

  • Follow any other instructions given by your doctor.

During the Test

The test is done in a doctor's office or hospital.

  • You'll be asked to raise your shirt.

  • Small, sticky, round patches are placed on the skin over your abdomen. The patches contain antennas that are attached to short wires (leads).

  • The wires are then plugged into a data recorder. The recorder is attached to a belt that is worn around your waist.

  • Once the recorder is confirmed to be working, you'll be given the capsule to swallow. (In rare cases, the pill may be placed in the small bowel with the help of an endoscope. This is a thin, flexible tube that can be inserted through the mouth and down into the digestive tract. Your doctor will tell you more about this, if needed.) The capsule works by sending pictures to the recorder as it moves through your stomach and small bowel.

  • After you swallow the capsule, you're usually allowed to leave the facility. You can drink clear liquids after 2 hours. And you can eat food or take medications after 4 hours. Be sure to follow any other instructions given by your doctor. For instance, you may be told not to do certain activities if they can affect your test results.

  • After 8 hours, you'll need to return to your doctor's office or hospital. All of the equipment is then removed.

  • The capsule is passed out of your body through your stool. If this does not occur within 3 days, let the doctor know right away. Treatment may have to be done to remove the capsule. Your doctor will tell you more about this, if needed.

After the Test

Once the pictures are reviewed, your doctor will go over the results with you. This is usually within a few days. If the pictures were blurry or unclear, the test may need to be done again.

Risks and Complications

There is a small chance that the capsule doesn't pass out of the body. This means it's probably stuck in the bowels. Procedures, such as surgery or endoscopy, will likely be needed to remove the capsule.

For top-quality, up-to-date care for gastrointestinal problems, trust the board-certified, experienced GI specialists trusted by thousands of patients and their doctors for nearly 30 years. Call Gastroenterology Consultants at (281) 481-9400 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation with us.

Gastroenterology Consultants

Ellington

444 FM 1959, Suite A,
Houston, TX 77034
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

St. John

2060 Space Park Drive, Suite 306
Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Direct Phone: 281-892-2460

Clear Lake

250 Blossom Street, Suite 210 Webster, TX 77598
Direct Phone: 281-316-1119

Pasadena

4211 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77504
Direct Phone: 832-456-8434

Pearland

15015 Kirby Dr. Ste.200A
Pearland, TX 77047
Direct Phone: 713-343-6360

League City

2555 S. Gulf Freeway Ste. 500
League City, TX 77573
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

Gastroenterology Consultants is a leader in advanced, comprehensive gastrointestinal care. We specialize in up-to-date gastrointestinal care, which includes screening and treatment for colon cancer, heartburn and acid reflux, esophageal disorders and difficulty swallowing, peptic ulcers, H. pylori, gallstones and other gallbladder disorders, rectal bleeding and hemorrhoids, malabsorption and celiac disease, liver diseases - hepatitis C, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, hepatoma and liver cancer, abdominal pain, noncardiac chest pain, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, anemia, nausea and vomiting, gas and bloating and lactose intolerance

Gastroenterology Consultants also offers colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer, EGD & capsule endoscopy small-bowel, endoscopic ultrasound, Bravo 48-hour pH monitoring, H. pylori breath testing, esophageal manometry and impedance testing, hemorrhoid band ligation, esophageal dilatation, advanced therapeutic ERCP, Biologic therapy, treatment of Barrett's esophagus, common bile duct stones and endoscopic mucosal resection.