Capsule endoscopy

Understanding what happens during a capsule endoscopy is useful for many patients.

What is a capsule endoscopy

An endoscopy involves having a look inside your body to see what is happening. The difference between a regular endoscopy and a capsule endoscopy is that a camera is placed in a capsule, that you swallow, to help us take a look inside. With a regular endoscopy a thin, flexible tube is inserted inside your body to see what is happening in order to help diagnose and treat you.

During capsule endoscopy

When you come in for a capsule endoscopy we will first place a number of patches on your body. An antenna with wires to transmit information to a recorder are located on each patch. The antenna and wires transmit information to a recorder, which collects and saves pictures as the capsule moves through your digestive tract. The pictures that are taken form part of your patient record and we will treat this information confidentially. The pictures are taken at a remarkably fast rate by this little camera so that we can have a detailed look at what is happening inside your body.

Once you are ready for the procedure to begin and once the equipment is ready to use, you will be asked to swallow a capsule. The camera is located in this capsule. The camera capsule isn’t very large. It’s relatively easy to swallow. Before we give you the capsule we place a substance on the capsule to make it slippery and easy to swallow. It’s about the size of a
large pill.

Usually, the entire procedure takes about eight to 12 hours or when the capsule is flushed out of your body into the toilet after you have had a bowel movement. Some people flush the capsule out of their body in a matter of hours. It takes longer for others. We will let you know how long it should take and what to do once the procedure has finished and what to do if your body takes an unusually long time to flush the capsule out of your system.

Once the procedure has been completed you can take the patches off and the recorder, and return it to us. The capsule can be flushed down the toilet.

In the video below you can find out more about capsule endoscopy.

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