Information about Capsule Endoscopy
What is capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a study that allows your doctor to look at the small intestine, the part of the digestive tract that connects the stomach and the colon, by using a tiny camera inside of a gummy bear-sized capsule that is swallowed.
As the capsule makes its way through the gut, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are recorded on a sensor belt that your child will wear for the day.
When the study is done, your doctor will download the images to a computer and examine them. The capsule itself is then passed in the stool.
What does capsule endoscopy look for?
Your doctor may recommend this test to look for bleeding or other conditions in a part of the small intestine that cannot be reached with a standard endoscope. Capsule endoscopy may also be used to help diagnose conditions such as:
- Chron's disease
- Celiac disease
Your doctor may also use capsule endoscopy to monitor the progress of a treatment plan for Chron's disease.
Who can undergo this study?
Capsule endoscopy can be done even in young children, depending on their age and size. Sometimes, the capsule may be too big for a small child to swallow, so your doctor may place it in the small intestine with an endoscope.
If there is concern that a part of the small intestine is narrowed in any way, there are tests to ensure that the intestine is open enough to be safe for the capsule to pass.
If your child has a heart pacemaker, a capsule endoscopy should not be done.
Are there any risks to doing this procedure?
If there is a part of the small intestine that is unusually narrow, the capsule may become lodged and require a procedure to remove it. This is a rare complication.
How do I prepare for the procedure and what can I expect during the procedure?
Your doctor may ask your child to have light meals or clear liquids the day before the study. On the day of the procedure, a comfortable sensor belt will be worn around the waist. The sensor belt contains a small, portable recording device that communicates with the capsule. Your child will be able to return to his or her regular routine that day, but will need to abstain from sports or physical education class during the study. Eating is usually permitted within a few hours of ingesting the capsule. Your doctor will provide you with further instructions. You will then be asked to return 8 hours later to have the sensor belt and recorder removed.
What happens after the capsule endoscopy is over?
The capsule will be passed in the stool and can be discarded. Your doctor will provide an estimate of how long it will take to get the results back.
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