Video Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy provides patients with a non-invasive approach to having their small bowel viewed and examined by Gastroenterologists. 

What is a Video Capsule Endoscopy?

This procedure involves the patient ingesting of a small capsule which is roughly the size of a vitamin tablet. The capsule contains a tiny camera that can take 2-4 images per second for eight hours as it travels through the digestive tract and has been specifically developed to view the small bowel.

A video capsule endoscopy is used to try and pinpoint bleeding in hidden areas of the small bowel which can be difficult to access with other methods. It is also useful for tracking small bowel tumours and obscure abdominal pain.

The capsule is swallowed and travels, just like a piece of food, through the stomach, small bowel and into the large bowel.

Recording probes, taped onto the abdomen, track the progress of the capsule as it makes its way through the gastrointestinal system. The images obtained by the capsule are transmitted to a data-recorder worn in a harness around the waist.

Information from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia website.

Watch a short video overview on Capsule Endoscopy

How should I prepare for a capsule endoscopy?

You need to be on a clear fluid diet from 12pm the day prior to your procedure. A pharmaceutical product will also be given to ensure clear images are seen throughout your procedure.

What about current medications?

Please advise us of all medications prior to your procedure.

What happens to the capsule?

The swallowed capsule is typically passed through bowel movements approximately 12 hours after swallowing. Many people do not notice the capsule being passed through their stools. In rare cases, the capsule may become stuck in the digestive tract, and if this occurs, then surgery or an endoscopy may be required to remove the capsule.