Capsule endoscopy is a technology that uses a swallowed video capsule
to take photographs of the inside of the oesophagus, stomach, and small
Initially the digestive tract is prepared by following the same
preparation techniques as before colonoscopy ( refer colonoscopy
preparation on preparation page )
A large capsule ( a little larger than the largest pill) is swallowed
by the patient. The capsule contains a tiny camera , a light bulb, a
battery, and a radio transmitter.
As the capsule travels through the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine, it takes photographs rapidly.
These photographs are transmitted by the radio transmitter to a small receiver that is worn on the waist of the patient .
At the end of the procedure, approximately 24 hours later, the
photographs are downloaded from the receiver into a computer, and the
images are reviewed by a physician.
The capsule is passed by the patient into the toilet along with stool and can be flushed away.
What type of diseases can be diagnosed with capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy continues to very effective in diagnosing :
Angiodysplasias which can cause anemia
Small intestinal tumors such as lymphoma, carcinoid tumor, and small intestinal cancer
Crohn's disease of the small intestine
What preparation do I need to follow before capsule endoscopy ?
Preparation for capsule endoscopy is the same as that for colonoscopy .
Kindly refer “ Preparation for Colonoscopy “ for details.
What are the limitations of capsule endoscopy?
It is not therapeutic
Abnormalities in some areas of the intestine are missed because of
rapid transit of the capsule and blurred . Sometimes the captured
photographs may appear blurred.
At times, transit through the digestive system is so slow that the
capsule examines only part of the small intestine before the battery
If abnormalities are discovered that require surgical intervention or
further investigation, it may be difficult to determine where in the
small intestine the abnormality is and thereby help direct therapy.
If there are narrow areas due to scarring (strictures) or tumors in
the small intestine, the capsule can get stuck in the narrow area and
cause an obstruction of the intestine that requires surgical removal of
Finally, reviewing the photographs is very time consuming and can only be done by a trained gastroenterologist .