What is video capsule endoscopy?
Unlike a traditional endoscopy, which only reaches the first three to six feet of the small bowel, video capsule endoscopy allows us to examine difficult-to-reach tumors within the small bowel.
At the start of the procedure, the patient is asked to swallow a small capsule. This capsule contains a tiny camera which flows through the digestive system and takes two pictures per second.
Using wireless technology, these pictures are transmitted to a small recording device worn on a belt. After several hours, the images are downloaded to a computer. We can then examine the pictures to identify potential tumors, as well as sources of bleeding or pain.
With this leading-edge imaging technique, we can see approximately 20 feet of the small intestine that cannot be reached with an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy.
The procedure is painless and non-invasive. If the patient has concerns about swallowing the capsule, we can use an endoscope to place it into the stomach. The capsule takes about eight hours to pass through the system.