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Overview

Video capsule endoscopy (VCE), popularly known as capsule endoscopy, is a specialized, non-invasive test to visualize the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract starts from the mouth (oral cavity) and ends at the rectum through the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestine.

Capsule endoscopy is an advanced endoscopic technology that uses a swallowed camera-enabled capsule. This capsule takes the pictures of the GI tract from the inside until it is finally eliminated naturally from the body. As the capsule moves, the pictures are transmitted to a receiver, which is worn by the patient at waist level in the form of a belt. The process continues for 8 hours.

Capsule endoscopy may be used for the following reasons:

  • Unexplained abdominal pain or GI bleeding
  • As a screening tool for tumors, ulcers, and polyps
  • Diagnosis of celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel conditions
  • After other imaging tests such as endoscopy, MRI or X-ray have failed to diagnose the condition

The rising popularity of capsule endoscopy can be attributed to the fact that it is not invasive and painful as compared to a GI endoscopy. Also, it helps provide detailed and comprehensive imaging of the entire GI tract.

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Before the Treatment

The following are some of the preparatory steps to be taken before capsule endoscopy:

  • The patient should fast overnight. No food or drinks allowed at least before 12 hours of the procedure.
  • The procedure should be planned the first thing in the morning
  • The patient should choose to wear a loose, long and preferable a cotton T-shirt so that the adhesive sensors can be placed in the abdominal area
  • Some patients are advised to take magnesium citrate evening before the procedure to help clear bowel
  • Iron-containing supplements must be stopped a few days before the procedure as it can interfere with the passage of the capsule
  • Strenuous exercising must be stopped 2 days before the procedure
  • Collect all important papers, ID card, and health insurance to be taken to the hospital
  • If the chest and the abdomen are hairy, you may be asked to shave it off before the sensors are placed

How it is Performed

Capsule endoscopy is an advanced endoscopic technology that uses a swallowed camera-enabled capsule. This capsule takes the pictures of the GI tract from the inside until it is finally eliminated naturally from the body. As the capsule moves, the pictures are transmitted to a receiver, which is worn by the patient at waist level in the form of a belt. The process continues for 8 hours.

Recovery

Recovery after capsule endoscopy is painless and simple. Patients should wait for at least two hours before they start drinking clear fluids after swallowing the capsule. A light snack or meal is allowed four hours after the capsule is taken.

The capsule eliminates by itself within 8 hours of ingestion. In some cases, it may be eliminated in the stool before that. The specialist can process the images from the received ties to the abdomen after 8 hours of before, depending on when the capsule is eliminated.

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Capsule Endoscopy