What Is Capsule Endoscopy and Why It Is Done?

Endoscopy is a medical procedure that directly visualizes parts of the body (such as colon, esophagus and other parts of gastrointestinal tract) using endoscope that cannot be normally seen directly. Capsule endoscopy is the medical procedure where a tiny wireless camera is placed inside a capsule (capsule form device that hold the camera) that takes pictures of your GIT (gastrointestinal tract). The cover of the capsule device is made of material that resist effects of gastric acid and other juices that are secreted in gastrointestinal tract.

If your doctor decide to use capsule endoscopy for you (because normal endoscopy can be painful procedure, as a tube is passed down your throat to GIT or in rectum), then you are asked to swallow the capsule device and as the capsule camera moves through your digestive tracts it takes pictures (may be thousands) and send them to a recorder that you wear in your waist like belt.

Capsule endoscopy help to visualize parts of gastrointestinal tract that are not generally visible with conventional/traditional endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy is also used for visualizing polyps of colon, if colonoscopy cannot be performed for some reason. As the technology improves, more and more parts can be visualized using capsule endoscopy.

What are the uses of capsule endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is commonly recommended for the following:

  • To know the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. If you have gastrointestinal bleeding from unknown cause, capsule endoscopy can be a great way to diagnose the cause. Because traditional endoscopy may not be possible to perform for the fear of more bleeding.
  • Capsule endoscopy can be very helpful in diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. It can help the extent of inflammation in the small intestine.
  • Capsule endoscopy can be used for follow up of imaging or X-ray, especially if these results are not clear. By directly visualizing the site of problem, it can give additional information to come to a diagnosis.
  • Capsule endoscopy can help find tumors in gastrointestinal tract, including cancer.
  • If you are at risk of having intestinal polyp, capsule endoscopy can be used to find out if you have any.
  • Capsule endoscopy can be used to monitor treatment of coeliac disease, especially after consuming gluten to see how the gastrointestinal tract react to it. Diagnosis of coeliac disease can also be done with help of capsule endoscopy.

As technique and technology of capsule endoscopy develops there will be many more uses of it in future and diagnosis can be made simpler.

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