Wireless capsule endoscopy is a state-of-the-art diagnostic system that uses a tiny camera inside a small capsule to take real-time pictures and video of the stomach and small intestine. In addition to the camera, the capsule also contains a very tiny light, battery and transmitter. Once the capsule is swallowed, it travels through the digestive system, following the same pathway as your food and providing an up-close view of the inside lining of the stomach and small intestine. The transmitter sends image data to a small recorder worn by the patient during the exam. When the exam is over, the images can be uploaded to a computer where they can be viewed and evaluated. The capsule will be eliminated through the bowel and can be flushed away. At GI Health, we use the PillCam SB 3, the most advanced capsule system featuring next-generation technology designed to provide the most accurate and detailed images and data. PillCam capsules have been used in nearly 2 million endoscopy exams worldwide and nearly 2,000 clinical studies.
The PillCam is used to diagnose conditions affecting the stomach and most especially the small intestine, which cannot be evaluated by traditional upper endoscopy or colonoscopy methods. In the small bowel, the PillCam can be used to diagnose and manage treatment of an array of conditions, including tumors, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and tiny knots of blood vessels called angioedemas that can cause bleeding and anemia not otherwise accounted for by upper and lower endoscopies.
At the start of the exam, the sensor belt will be applied to the belly area using a special medical adhesive, and then the capsule will be swallowed normally. It takes about eight hours for the capsule to travel through the GI system, but patients will be able to drink clear liquids and consume a light meal during that time. Strenuous activity will need to be avoided while the PillCam study is being conducted. After about eight hours, the patient will return to the office where the belt will be removed and the images will be retrieved from the receiver.