Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

A small bowel capsule endoscopy is performed with the PillCam SB 3 video capsule, which enables your doctor to examine your entire small intestine. The doctor will have you ingest a video capsule that has its own camera and light source. You may be surprised at the size of the capsule-it is the size of a large vitamin pill, just over an inch long and less than 1/2 inch wide. Once swallowed, it travels through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, sending multiple images a second to a recording device worn close to your waist. The capsule will not be absorbed or digested, but will move through your digestive system and be eliminated through a normal bowel movement. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.

Each capsule is designed for a single use, and will not harm the environment or your household plumbing.

The medical assistant will prepare you for the examination by placing sensors on your abdomen. The video capsule is swallowed with water and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder that you will wear close to your waist. You will be able to eat four hours after the capsule ingestion unless the doctor instructs you otherwise. You will be allowed to leave the office and can move freely during the exam. The examination will be over approximately eight hours after the capsule was ingested. After ingesting the capsule and until it has been eliminated from your body, you should not have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam or be in the vicinity of an MRI machine.

After the end of the procedure, you will return to the office where the data recorder and sensors will be removed and the images acquired during the exam will be downloaded to a workstation for the doctor to review.

Reprinted and modified from the American Gastroenterological Association and Given Imaging.

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