Capsule endoscopy

A pill-sized video capsule to show the inside of your body

Capsule endoscopy is a procedure where you swallow a pill-sized video capsule which slowly passes through your body

About

Capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic test used to examine the gastrointestinal tract and check for small bowel disorders and conditions such as Crohn's disease, polyps and malabsorption. There are three types of capsule: the oesophageal capsule, the small bowel capsule and the colon capsule.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your consultant or nurse will prepare you for the test by attaching sensors to your abdomen. You won't need to be sedated or have an anaesthetic before taking the capsule. You'll need to swallow the capsule with water. The capsule has its own camera and light and takes two images per second. While the capsule passes through your body, it sends images to a data recorder which you wear in a shoulder bag, close to your waist. You can go about your normal routine and the entire procedure takes about eight hours. Usually you can eat about four hours after you swallowed the capsule, unless your consultant tells you otherwise.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how to prepare for this test. Like all procedures, there may be some risks or side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you. You may need to fast overnight before the test. If you're taking iron tablets, you may need to stop taking these for one week beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Your consultant or nurse will remove the sensors from your chest and take the data recorder from you. We'll download the data recorded during your test, and your consultant will review it and talk through the results with you. The capsule is disposable and will pass through your body naturally with your bowel movement. You shouldn't feel any pain or discomfort. After swallowing the tablet and passing it, you shouldn't have an MRI scan or go near an MRI machine.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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