Atlantic Digestive Specialists is proud to offer Video Capsule Endoscopy, a disposable, ingestible capsule that captures video images as it is naturally propelled through the digestive system. Capsule endoscopy is the latest in cutting-edge technology allowing our physicians direct visualization of the small bowel, previously only seen via surgical techniques. The capsule is a small camera about the size of a vitamin capsule. It emits a light and takes two pictures per second as it travels through the gastrointestinal tract. The pill is easily swallowed and transmits the images to a recording device worn around the waist. These images are then downloaded to a computer where your physician at Atlantic Digestive Specialists will review them.
The capsule is swallowed after a modified diet on the previous day and an overnight fast. A physician at Atlantic Digestive Specialists will see you at the office in the morning for about 15-20 minutes so that you may ingest the capsule and be fitted with the device. Receiving sensors are taped to the abdomen and the receiver and battery pack are worn around the waist. Once the setup is confirmed to be functional, you are free to leave the office and participate in most of your usual activities. After two hours, clear liquids may be taken. A light snack may be taken four hours after ingestion of the capsule. Detailed diet instructions will be provided prior to your procedure. You will return to the office after eight hours to have the receiver and battery pack removed. The capsule will only transmit data for approximately eight hours, but this is usually well beyond the time required to travel the small intestine. The capsule will eventually be excreted in the stool. It is not reusable and does not need to be retrieved. It is important to avoid any areas with strong magnetic fields while the capsule is transmitting, as a magnetic field will shut it off. You must also refrain from going into an MRI machine until the capsule passes into the toilet, otherwise serious injury to the GI tract may occur.
The capsule is only able to study the small intestine at this time and does not replace colonoscopy or upper endoscopy. The capsule contains no steering mechanism or ability to wash the surface it’s viewing, nor does it provide the ability to take tissue samples as a standard endoscopy does. The capsule does provide the unique ability to film the lining of the small intestine well beyond the reach of the standard endoscope or enteroscope, which at best may only examine the first three to six feet of the small intestine. The capsule examines the entire length, approximately 20 feet, of the small bowel. Early studies have shown a 60 – 70% success rate in identifying the source of bleeding in the intestinal tract where standard diagnostic tests had failed. Often, individuals were subjected to multiple colonoscopies, upper endoscopies, small bowel X-rays, bleeding scans, arteriography, and ultimately intraoperative endoscopy before locating difficult small bowel bleeding sites. By introducing capsule endoscopy we have a new diagnostic tool that allows us to hone in on a site much more quickly and with more certainty than ever before. The capsule may also locate suspected small bowel tumors and Crohn’s Disease as well as other diseases of the small intestine. At this time, the capsule has not been shown useful for diseases of the colon.
There is very little risk with this exam; however if a blockage or narrowing of the small bowel is suspected, there is a concern that the capsule could become lodged at that site and require surgical removal.
Atlantic Digestive Specialists will perform video capsule endoscopy studies for other gastroenterologists outside of our practice with a prior consult with our physicians.
Referring physicians must have a conversation with our physicians regarding their patient prior to scheduling a consult and/or the video capsule endoscopy procedure.
A consult visit must be scheduled for all patients not previously seen by an Atlantic Digestive Specialists physician.
At Atlantic Digestive Specialists you will benefit from the personal care and technologically advanced procedures performed by our leading, board-certified gastroenterologists. Contact us for more information on Video Capsule Endoscopy.