Capsule endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate the small intestine with a pill-sized capsule. This part of the bowel cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy.

The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to search for a cause of bleeding from the small intestine. It may also be useful for detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease), ulcers and tumors of the small intestine.

How it's performed

A nurse will attach a sensor belt to your abdomen. You'll then swallow a video capsule. It will pass naturally through your digestive tract, transmitting video images to the data recorder on your sensor belt for approximately eight hours.

At the end of the procedure, you'll return the video capture to the endoscopy department. (If you're an inpatient, your video capture will be returned to the endoscopy department by a nurse.) A physician will review images of your small bowel on a computer screen.

Most patients consider the test comfortable. The video capsule is about the size of a large pill. Until the capsule is excreted, you shouldn't be near an MRI device or schedule an MRI test.

After the study

You can drink clear liquids after two hours and eat a light meal four hours after the capsule ingestion unless your doctor tells you otherwise. You should avoid vigorous physical activity such as running or jumping during the study.

Request a referral

Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center: 480-882-5740

Scottsdale Shea Medical Center: 480-882-7490

Scottsdale Thompson Peak Medical Center: 480-882-7510

Deer Valley Medical Center: 623-780-0100

John C. Lincoln Medical Center: 602-943-2381