Frequently Asked Questions
What is Capsule Endoscopy?
Capsule Endoscopy (CE) lets your physician examine the lining of the middle part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the three portions of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum). Your physician will use a pill size video capsule called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source and will view the images on a video monitor. You might hear your physician or medical staff refer to capsule endoscopy as small bowel endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, or wireless endoscopy.
Why is Capsule Endoscopy Done?
CE helps your doctor evaluate the small intestine. This part of the bowel cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to search for a cause of bleeding from the small intestine. It may also be useful for detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), ulcers, and tumors of the small intestine.
As is the case with most diagnostic procedures, not all insurance companies are currently reimbursing for this procedure. You may need to check with your own insurance company to ensure that this is a covered benefit.
How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, your physician will provide you with a comprehensive prep for the procedure.
Make sure you inform your physician about any medications you take including iron, aspirin, bismuth subsalicylate products and other “over the counter” medications. You might need to adjust your usual dose prior to the examination.
Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions, such as swallowing disorders and heart or lung disease.
Tell your physician if you have had previous abdominal surgery or history of bowel obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease or adhesions.
What Can I Expect During the Procedure?
The CapsoCam is swallowed and passes naturally through your digestive tract. After the capsule passes through your digestive tract, you will collect the capsule using the designated retrieval kit that is provided to you at the prior office visit. This retrieval kit is then sent out via FedEx.
What are the Possible Complications?
Although complications can occur, they are rare when physicians who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure, such as members of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, perform the test.
Potential risks include complications from obstruction. This usually relates to a stricture of the intestine from inflammation, prior surgery, or tumor. It’s important to recognize early possible complications.
If you have evidence of obstruction, such as unusual bloating, pain and or vomiting, call your physician immediately. Also, if you develop a fever after the test, have trouble swallowing or experience increasing chest pain, tell your physician immediately.