PillCam Endoscopy

PillCam Endoscopy or Capsule Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that enables your physician to examine three portions of your small intestine using a tiny camera the size of a large vitamin. The video capsule is swallowed and as it travels through the body, images are sent to a data recorder worn by the patient. This procedure is performed when other diagnostic procedures have failed to determine the cause of recurrent or persistent symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia or bleeding. A PillCam gives our physicians a first-hand look at what may be the reason for these symptoms.

How to Prepare:

An empty stomach is key to a successful PillCam. In general, do not eat or drink anything 10 hours prior to the procedure. You will receive specific instructions from our team prior to the procedure at the time of scheduling.

What to Expect During the Procedure:

The morning of the procedure, you may not have anything to eat or drink. Please wear loose fitting, two-piece clothing. First our team will apply sensors to your abdomen with adhesive pads to connect the data recorder. Then you will swallow the PillCam capsule with a cup of water. After swallowing the PillCam you will need to wait 2 hours before you have any clear liquids. After 4 hours you can usually have a light snack. After the 8 hours, you may resume your normal diet.

The procedure lasts roughly 8 hours and you will not need to stay at our office. The data recorder will capture images from the PillCam. You will need to make sure that the recorder is continuously working by checking a small blinking light on the recorder. You may not do any strenuous activities during the procedure.

What to Expect After the Procedure:

At the end of the 8-hour exam, you will return to our office where the data recorder will be removed. The physician will review the video images, compile results and follow up with you, generally in 1–2 weeks.

What Happens to the PillCam?

The capsule generally passes through your body naturally in a bowel movement. If you cannot verify that the capsule has been excreted, it is common to have an abdominal X-ray to make sure. You should not undergo an MRI or get an MRI unless you are certain that the capsule has passed.