Capsule Video Endoscopy

How the Procedure Works

Patients typically begin fasting at midnight the day before the procedure. The following morning the patient will arrive at the doctor’s office to be prepped for the procedure. The nurse will fit the patient with a comfortable belt (SensorBelt) containing sensors, with easy-fasten straps for quick adjustments and removal. After being fitted with the belt, the patient will be given a glass of water to help swallow the vitamin-sized pill. After the patient has successfully swallowed the PillCam video capsule, they will be able to resume daily activities. After eight hours, the patient will return to the physician’s office with the SensorBelt and DataRecorder. The PillCam video capsule passes naturally with a bowel movement, usually within 24 hours.

The physician will then download images from the DataRecorder for review.

PillCam SB

PillCam SB is the most widely used, patient-friendly tool for visualization of the entire small bowel and is the standard of care for detecting small bowel abnormalities. It is the only capsule endoscope indicated for use in patients two years of age and older.

The PillCam SB video capsule measures 11mm x 26mm and weighs less than four grams. The video capsule contains an imaging device and light source and transmits images at a rate of two images per second, generating more than 50,000 pictures during the eight-hour procedure.

PillCam SB was initially cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001. Now in its second-generation, PillCam SB 2 captures the broadest mucosal area per image with the widest field-of-view. In addition, advanced optics and Automatic Light Control provide optimal image quality and illumination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a PillCam video capsule?

A: An ingestible capsule device equipped with a miniature video camera to visualize the small intestine (PillCam SB), and esophagus (PillCam ESO) for detection of damage or disease.

Q: How does PillCam SB capsule endoscopy work?

A: The smooth plastic capsule contains a miniature video camera and is equipped with a light source on one end, batteries, a radio transmitter and antenna. After it is swallowed, the PillCam SB capsule transmits approximately 50,000 images over the course of an 8-hour period (about 2 images per second) to a data recording device attached to a belt worn around the patient’s waist. The small bowel images are then downloaded into a Given® Workstation computer where a physician can review the images in order.

Q: How long is the recovery time after swallowing the PillCam video capsule?

A: PillCam capsule endoscopy requires no preparation or sedation, and recovery is immediate.

Q: How is the PillCam video capsule removed from the body?

A: Both the PillCam SB and PillCam ESO disposable capsules make their way through the rest of the gastrointestinal tract and then are passed naturally and painlessly from the body, usually within 24 hours.

Q: How does PillCam capsule endoscopy compare to traditional endoscopic procedures?

A: Both the PillCam SB and ESO procedures do not require sedation and can be administered in a doctor’s office. Studies have shown patients undergoing either PillCam procedure have a much higher level of satisfaction due to procedural convenience and comfort and immediate recovery.