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Video Capsule Endoscopy

By

Jonathan Gotfried

, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
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Video capsule endoscopy (wireless video endoscopy) is a procedure in which the person swallows a battery-powered capsule. The capsule contains one or two small cameras, a light, and a transmitter. Images of the lining of the intestines are transmitted to a receiver worn on the person’s belt or in a cloth pouch. Thousands of pictures are taken. People should stop eating or drinking for about 12 hours before this test is done.

Video capsule endoscopy is especially useful for finding hidden bleeding in the digestive tract and problems on the inner surface of the small intestine, which is an area that is difficult to evaluate with an endoscope. It does not work as well in the large intestine, but this area is not as difficult to evaluate with an endoscope. People usually pass the capsule in their stool after about 12 hours, and some people do not notice it. The capsule does not have to be retrieved and is flushable. If people do not notice the capsule has passed, doctors may do x-rays X-Ray Studies of the Digestive Tract X-rays often are used to evaluate digestive problems. Standard x-rays (plain x-rays) do not require any special preparation (see Plain X-Rays). These x-rays usually can show a blockage or paralysis... read more or a computed tomography scan Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Digestive Tract Computed tomography (CT—see also Computed Tomography (CT)) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI—see also Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)) scans are good tools for assessing the size and location... read more to see whether it is still in the digestive tract. Rarely, the capsule may be stuck in the digestive tract and doctors may need to do endoscopy Endoscopy Endoscopy is an examination of internal structures using a flexible viewing tube (endoscope). Endoscopy can also be used to treat many disorders because doctors are able to pass instruments... read more or surgery to remove it.

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