Capsule endoscopy is a high-tech gastrointestinal assessment that is generally easily tolerated and very helpful in diagnosing small intestine health problems. If you have persistent GI symptoms or a concerning medical history, your primary care physician may wish you to consult a board-certified gastroenterologist about the benefits of capsule endoscopy.
Let’s take a closer look at this procedure and why it may be beneficial for you.
What Happens During a Capsule Endoscopy?
A capsule endoscopy introduces a miniaturized video camera into the GI tract via a vitamin-sized capsule. With the normal muscular movements of swallowing and peristalsis, the capsule moves throughout the digestive tract, sending real-time video images to a receiver worn on the patient’s belt or waistband.
The tiny capsule advances through the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract painlessly, and it is eliminated through natural excretion from the rectum. This little device has a light source of its own, and it enables the gastroenterologist to see the interior of the GI tract clearly, especially the esophagus. The doctor also receives detailed images of the entire length of the small intestine, including the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
What Can a Capsule Endoscopy Find?
A capsule endoscopy can help the GI specialist diagnose conditions such as:
- Celiac disease, or intolerance to gluten
- Crohn’s disease, a serious form of inflammatory bowel disease
- Bleeding anywhere in the GI tract but especially in the small intestine and in the esophagus (due to varicose veins in the food pipe)
- Scarring, polyps, bleeding, or other changes in the small intestine lining
- Tumors, both benign and cancerous
Capsule endoscopy is a great alternative for people who cannot tolerate more intense procedures, such as traditional endoscopies, or who are not good candidates for sedation or anesthesia. This GI procedure involves no downtime afterwards, and patients return to their normal routines quickly.
Details of the Capsule Endoscopy Procedure
The day before the capsule endoscopy, the patient consumes only clear liquids and some laxatives as prescribed. They need to fast from all food and liquids the morning of the procedure but may take some medications with a sip of water as directed by the gastroenterologist.
Who Can Benefit From a Capsule Endoscopy?
Most patients who have symptoms that suggest an issue with the GI tract can benefit from this procedure. It is especially beneficial for those who do not tolerate more intense GI procedures well, such as those requiring sedation.
Capsule endoscopy is very well tolerated by all kinds of patients. It poses no health risks or complications and provides abundant information to help the GI doctor make a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment, as needed.
Capsule Endoscopy Examinations in California
If you have unexplained problems in your small intestine, you may qualify for a capsule endoscopy at inSite Digestive HealthCare. To arrange your consultation, please select the clinic location most convenient to you and call us for an appointment. You can also request an appointment by filling in our online form. Dr. Rowena Garcia-Chuapoco is one of our providers who specializes in capsule endoscopy, and she practices out of our Burlingame and Santa Clara locations.
Our board-certified physicians deliver state-of-the-art gastrointestinal care, helping people of all ages with the simplest to the most complex acute and chronic conditions of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large bowel and more. We will feel privileged to be of service to you.