Capsule Endoscopy

Information About Capsule Endoscopy

What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy involves swallowing a small camera inside a pill that then photographs the small bowel (small intestine). It is mostly used to look for a cause of blood loss from the small bowel when a gastroscopy and colonoscopy have not identified it elsewhere.

The test involves swallowing a capsule (about the size of a large vitamin pill) that takes multiple digital images of the small intestine. The small intestine is about 6 metres long, and the capsule can take about 8 hours to travel through it. During this time, images are wirelessly transmitted to a recording belt around your waist. The capsule does not need to be retrieved as it is passed (usually unnoticed) into your stools.

Capsule Endoscopy is a day procedure. No sedation is required. You will need to avoid any food after dinner the night prior and follow some dietary instructions on the day of the procedure.

You will need to attend the GastroNorth rooms in the morning for about half an hour (8am-8.30am) where the data recorder is attached, and you will be given the capsule to swallow. You may then leave the rooms and return late afternoon (4.00 – 4.30 pm) to return the equipment. Subsequently, the recorded digital images are downloaded to a computer and examined by the specialist.

Are there any risks?

There is a small risk that the capsule could become stuck in the small bowel. This is uncommon. The estimated risk is less than 1 in 200. Surgery may be required to remove a retained (stuck) capsule. An x-ray may be requested after the test if the capsule is not seen to enter the large bowel on the recorded images. On rare occasions technical problems or capsule retention in the stomach may mean a repeat procedure needs to be performed.

How much will it cost?

No out of pocket fees apply if you meet the Medicare criteria for performing Capsule Endoscopy and have had a prior gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

If you have any questions, please contact GastroNorth on 9468 9700