What is capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that is performed using a small wireless camera that takes pictures of the digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a capsule the size of a vitamin capsule. As the capsule travels through the digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are sent to a tape recorder that you wear on a belt around your waist.
Capsule endoscopy helps doctors see inside the small intestine – an area that cannot be easily accessed with traditional endoscopic procedures that involve passing a long, flexible tube fitted with a video camera into your throat or rectum.
Why is capsule endoscopy performed?
- To find the cause of unexplained bleeding in the small intestine.
- To diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
- To detect and diagnose tumors in the small intestine or other parts of the digestive tract.
- To diagnose and monitor an immune reaction to eating gluten.
- To examine the esophagus and look for abnormal and enlarged veins (varicose veins).
- To scan for polyps in people who have inherited syndromes that can cause polyps in the small intestine.
- Follow-up testing after an X-ray or other imaging exam. If the imaging test results are unclear or inconclusive, your doctor may recommend a capsule endoscopy so that he can obtain more information.