A medical assistant will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor array to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves. The capsule endoscope (the PillCam®) is ingested with water and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight hours. During this time you are free to move about your daily interactions. Most patients find the test comfortable. Afterward, your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.
Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases, this method can also help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or monitor the effect of therapy. Your doctor might use capsule endoscopy to obtain motility data such as gastric or small bowel passage time.
Although complications may occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in the procedure perform the test. A potential risk could be retention of the capsule. It is important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing or increasing chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.