Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

Small bowel capsule endoscopy allows direct examination of the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. It is used primarily to examine the small intestine which cannot be viewed with an endoscope or colonoscope.

The PillCam SB video capsule enables your physician to examine your entire small intestine. Sensors will be placed on the patient's abdomen and an external Data Recorder will be worn by the patient on a belt.

Reasons for the Exam

There are many medical reasons for having a Capsule endoscopy. The following are some reasons for performing a Capsule endoscopy:

  • Bleeding
  • CT scan abnormal finding
  • Pain
  • X-ray Findings
  • Barium enema abnormality
Preparation for the Test
To obtain the full benefit of the exam you will be instructed to make sure your stomach is empty well before the Capsule study. An empty stomach allows optimal viewing conditions, so you should start a liquid diet after lunch the day prior to the examination. Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. Specific instructions for preparation are provided beforehand.

The Procedure
Capsule Endoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Eight sensors will be place on the patient's abdomen. The sensors will be attached to a Data Recorder that will be worn in a belt around the patient's waist. The patient will be instructed to swallow the Pill Cam with a small amount of water. The sensors on the patient's abdomen will transmit photographs to the Data Recorder as it passes through the digestive tract. The patient will go home and perform normal daily activities but will not be allowed to remove the sensors or Data Recorder. After 8 hours the patient will return to the hospital to have the Data Recorder removed and the sensors. The patient will be instructed to check their stool for passage of the capsule and to report it to the Physician. If the patient does not observe passage of the capsule they must refrain from having an MRI. An X-ray must be performed to determine if the capsule has been passed before an MRI can be performed.

The benefits of Capsule Endoscopy include:
  • The Physician can see abnormalities such as inflammation or bleeding in the small intestine that cannot be visualized with an endoscope or colonoscope.
  • The Physician can see abnormalities that do not show up on x-ray or CAT scan.
Alternative Testing
Alternative testing includes barium x-ray exams, CAT scans and MRI.

Side Effects and Risks

Complications are rare, but if they occur, they may include a capsule that has not passed. You must not have an MRI scan until the capsule has passed. Having an MRI scan while the capsule is in inside your body may result in serious damage to your intestinal tract.

Capsule Endoscopy is a simple outpatient exam which can uncover a serious medical problem. Specific diagnoses can be made. Treatment programs can be evaluated, or reassurance can be provided when the exam is normal. It is one of the most useful and simple exams in medicine.

Care Locations

  • Riverview Medical Center, 1 Riverview Plaza, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Find a Physician

Looking for a physician in your area? By using our Physician Directory, you can search for a New Jersey physician by specialty, facility, town, and zip code right now.

For more information on any physician, call 1-800-560-9990 or 1-800-DOCTORS.

Health Information