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Human Digestive System
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Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is a technology that uses a swallowed video capsule to take photographs of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

Capsule endoscopy has made it possible to diagnose the causes of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and anemia due to intestinal loss of blood, and to diagnose diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and cancers that may involve only the small intestine.

How do I prepare?

Before the capsule endoscopy procedure, the bowel must be thoroughly cleared of all stool. This preparation process is completed by the patient at home prior to the exam, as prescribed by the doctor.

What happens during and after the procedure?

During the procedure the patient swallows a large capsule. The capsule contains one or two video chips (cameras), a light bulb, a battery, and a radio transmitter. As the capsule travels through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, it takes photographs rapidly. The photographs are transmitted by the radio transmitter to a small receiver that is worn on the waist of the patient who is undergoing the capsule endoscopy.

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 in the stool and flushed away.

While the capsule provides the best means of viewing the inside of the small intestine, the capsule does not allow for therapies to be completed during the procedure. If needed, follow-up procedures will be scheduled by your physician.

 
       
 

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