What is the Pill Cam?
Pill Cam is a capsule that you swallow by mouth. It is equipped with a small camera and a light source. It passes through your entire digestive tract painlessly. While traveling through, it captures images and sends them to a recording device that you wear during the procedure. The Pill Cam is disposable and passes naturally through your body.
How is it useful?
The Pill Cam helps your doctor see inside your small intestine, which is an area that is not easily reached with more traditional endoscopy procedures. Your doctor may recommend using the Pill Cam to:
Find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Diagnose Crohn's and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Screen for cancer.
Diagnose Celiac disease.
Screen for polyps.
Follow up testing after x-rays or other imaging tests.
How to prepare before the procedure?
To prepare for the Pill Cam(capsule endoscopy), the doctor will likely give you specific instructions. Generally you are asked to not eat 10-12 hours before swallowing the Pill Cam. Also, you should not plan to do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for the time following your swallowing of the Pill Cam. In some cases, the doctor may ask you to take a laxative before swallowing the Pill Cam to flush out your small intestine. This has been shown to improve the quality of the pictures collected by the camera. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions in preparing for the Pill Cam procedure as failure to do so may result in having to reschedule your capsule endoscopy.
After swallowing the Pill Cam:
After swallowing the Pill Cam, you should wait two hours before drinking(clear liquids only). After four hours, you can have a light lunch or a snack unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. The capsule endoscopy is complete after eight hours. After 8 hours is complete, based on the time given to you, follow your doctors instructions for returning the equipment. If you do not see the capsule camera in the toilet within two weeks it is important to contact your doctor.
Results of the Pill Cam:
The camera inside the Pill Cam takes thousands of pictures as it passes through your digestive tract. The images are saved on the recorder and then transferred to a computer with a special software that strings the images together to create a video. Your doctor then reviews the video to look for abnormalities within your digestive tract. It is not uncommon to take a few days to a week to receive the results of your capsule endoscopy.