Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy
Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy allows the Gastroenterologist to examine the three portions (duodeum, jejunum, ileum) of a patients intestine and identify numerous pathologies present within the small intestine. It has become an important tool for evaluation of suspected diseases in the small bowel.
The endoscope is a vitamin-pill sized capsule equipped with its own camera and light source, and this is ingested. While the video capsule passes through the patient's digestive tract, images are transmitted to a data recorder worn on a waist belt. After the procedure, the Gastroenterologist will view a colour video taken from the capsule, and contact the patient's doctor with the results.
One of the main advantages of performing capsule endoscopy is that it does not require sedation and air insufflation, hence eliminating the risks associated with sedation and perforation. The capsule is also single use, which diminishes the risk of infection acquired from reprocessing an equipment.
This procedure is performed to investigate conditions such as:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Coeliac Disease
- Small Bowel tumours
Patients are required to start fasting the day before the procedure, as an empty stomach allows optimal viewing conditions. You should also inform the Gastroenterologist of any medications you take, presence of a pacemaker, previous abdominal surgery, swallowing problems or previous history of obstructions in the bowel.
After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, patients should not have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination or be near an MRI device.
The capsule is disposable, it progresses naturally with your bowel movement and does not need to be recovered. There should not be any pain or discomfort during capsule excretion.
The procedures described above are considered to be safe. However, a potential complication could be retention of the capsule. It is important for you to inform the Gastroenterologist if you recognize early signs of possible complications, such as fever and vomiting, trouble swallowing, increasing chest or abdominal pain or vomiting. If you wish to discuss the potential risks or any issues regarding your procedure(s) in more detail, please ask to speak with the Gastroenterologist.