Capsule Endoscopy is used to examine the lining of your small intestine. This part of the intestine cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or colonoscopy. It uses a large pill sized video capsule which has its own lens and light source and will capture images by a computer built into the capsule.
To prepare for the procedure, you may have a normal breakfast the day before your procedure. Starting at noon the day before, you need to begin a diet of only clear liquids. Do not have anything to eat or drink for at least 12 hours before the examination, including water or any other liquids. Do not take any medications two hours prior to test. Wear clothing that is comfortable, two-piece clothing.
Once you arrive for your examination, a sensor device will be applied to your abdomen with adhesive. The capsule is swallowed and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on your belt for approximately eight hours.
Do not disconnect the equipment or remove the sensor at any time during this period. During the procedure, you will need to verify every 15 minutes that the small light on top of the data recorder is blinking. Once the test is complete, the sensor will be removed. The images will be downloaded to the computer and a disk will be made for your physician to review. Most people do not consider the procedure to be uncomfortable. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have a MRI or be near a MRI device.
You will be able to drink clear liquids two hours after ingesting the capsule and you may eat a light meal after four hours, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. After the procedure is complete, you may return to your normal diet.
Potential risks of the procedure include obstruction, which usually is due to a stricture (narrowing) of the intestine due to inflammation, prior surgery, or a tumor. It is important to recognize symptoms such as pain, vomiting, or unusual bloating. Contact your physician if you should experience any of these symptoms, fever after the test, trouble swallowing, or chest pain.