A PillCam capsule endoscopy is a procedure performed to allow your doctor to examine the inside of your digestive tract. The PillCam uses a capsule that is about the size of a vitamin pill with a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of the digestive tract. The camera takes thousands of pictures as it travels through the digestive tract and transmits the images to a recorder worn on your waist with a belt.
PillCam capsule endoscopies allow doctors to examine the inside of the small intestine, an area that traditional endoscopy procedures can’t reach. It is performed to diagnose gastrointestinal conditions like IBD, celiac disease, and cancer. The test may also be used to find the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms like bleeding, screen for polyps, examine the esophagus, and do follow-up testing after an X-ray or other imaging tests are unclear.
The Endoscopy Center will provide you with more detailed instructions for preparing for a PillCam capsule endoscopy. You’ll need to start a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure. You will also need to follow your doctor’s instructions for flushing the bowel before the procedure if necessary.
On the day of the procedure, you will have sensor leads attached to your abdomen with adhesive patches to connect to the camera’s recorder. You will wear a data recorder on a halter belt.
You will be given the PillCam and swallow it with water. The capsule will have a coating that will make it easier for you to swallow it.
Complications from capsule endoscopies are rare and the risk associated with the procedure is small. In very rare cases, the capsule becomes lodged in the digestive tract.
After you swallow for the capsule endoscopy, your doctor will tell you how long to wait before eating or drinking. Other than that, you can go back to your daily routine until you return to the clinic later that afternoon. After the allotted time, you will return to Wake Endoscopy Center to have the halter and sensors removed. The camera capsule is expelled during a bowel movement within hours or days.
No. A PillCam capsule endoscopy is a non-invasive procedure done without sedation. You can drive yourself to and from the appointment.