Wireless Capsule Endoscopy

Up until recently the small bowel could not be examined adequately due to its length (3-5 meters) and tortuosity. The capsule endoscopy is a relatively new procedure which enables accurate images to be obtained from the entire small bowel, and also, if necessary, the large bowel.
The main indication for the procedure is obscure gastrointestinal bleeding i.e. unexplained bleeding or iron-deficiency anaemia. Other important indications include the diagnosis and evaluation of Crohn's disease, chronic diarrhoea, coeliac disease and screening for small-bowel polyps in familial polyposis syndromes. Conditions detectable using capsule endoscopy include abnormal blood vessels, Crohn's disease, anti-inflammatory medication-induced ulcers, polyps, lymphoma and cancer. Conditions that have been missed on standard endoscopy (e.g. ulcers) can also be detected.

Outline of procedure

After an overnight fast, you will be asked to swallow a small capsule, consisting of a camera, light source and wireless circuit. Leads are attached to the abdominal wall and connected to a data recorder worn on a belt around the waist. As the capsule moves naturally through the intestines, images are transmitted to the data recorder. You will be able to leave the hospital and return after 8 hours when the equipment is removed and the images downloaded onto a computer for analysis. The capsule is then passed naturally in the stool and discarded.
Wireless Capsule Endoscopy
A wireless capsule endoscopy.

Wireless Capsule Endoscopy - small_intestine
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A typical image of the small intestine.
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