The Smartest Pill You’ll Ever Swallow
Until capsule endoscopy came along, the small intestine was always difficult to image and treat without open surgery. Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic technology that allows Dr. Weitzman to detect lesions, ulcers, tumors, and bleeding within the small bowel.
Patients arrive at the office earlier in the morning and swallow a pill-sized video capsule containing a miniature video camera, light bulb, battery and transmitter to photograph the inside lining of the small intestine. The capsule takes thousands of photographs over an 8 hour period and is then collected and analyzed to evaluate and identify the cause for abdominal pain, diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia and Crohn’s diseease.
For capsule endoscopy, patients are required to be on a clear liquid diet the entire day prior to the procedure.
Is Capsule Endoscopy Right for Me?
Capsule endoscopy may be right for you if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Polyposis syndromes
- Abnormal imaging of gastrointestinal tract
- Obscure gastrointestinal blood loss or anemia
Capsule Endoscopy Procedure Preparation
Dr. Weitzman will provide the patient with all of the appropriate instructions before the capsule endoscopy exam. However, it is important to know that the patient will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for at least six to eight hours before the exam.
What can I expect during a Capsule Endoscopy Procedure?
The patient will not be allowed to eat or drink for approximately six to eight hours before the exam, so typically this exam is performed in the morning after fasting through the night. Once the patient arrives, instructions will be provided and the patient is given the capsocam pill to swallow with water. After ingesting the capsocam the patient is free to go about the day as normal. The patient will be slowly reintroduced after fasting per the doctor’s instructions. The capsule travels through the esophagus, stomach and small intestine, taking thousands of photographs. After four hours the patient can have regular food and medication, and only clear liquids until after the first two hours.
The capsocam capsule will be passed in the patient’s feces within 48 hours and will be collected and shipped back for analysis. The patient will be provided a retrieval kit to easily retrieve the capsocam pill. It is important to remember that capsule endoscopy can only help diagnose a problem. It is not a therapeutic procedure and may lead to further interventions if something is discovered.
Capsule Endoscopy Results
The patient receive the results either over the phone or at a scheduled follow-up appointment with a report of the procedures diagnosis.
Capsule Endoscopy Risks
The capsule endoscopy exam is extremely safe, with only a few minor risks. The first risk, affecting 5% of all people who undergo this exam, is that the capsule does not pass through the bowels and the result is incomplete. However, less than 1% of patients require surgery to retrieve the capsule at a stricture site. The second risk is that sometimes there can be a delay in the passage capsule, and therefore the recording has to be terminated. Once again, these risks are very small and highly unlikely, but they are still risks and need to be explained.