Capsule Endoscopy in Connecticut

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What is a small bowel capsule endoscopy?

A small bowel capsule endoscopy involves an endoscopic process where a pill-sized capsule, which has a camera and a battery in it, is ingested by the patient and is then utilized to take a series of images of the small intestine or bowel. Around 60,000 photos are taken, creating a "movie" of the small bowel.

At Connecticut GI, a small bowel pill endoscopy is typically performed to diagnose the primary reason for inexplicable bleeding or anemia. It can also be used to visualize the small intestine to extensively assess an abnormal x-ray, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Call our gastroenterologists in Connecticut to schedule a capsule endoscopy to help ensure your intestinal health is prioritized.

What should my expectations be before my capsule endoscopy?

You can expect to be provided instructions from your GI provider about the preparation required for your capsule endoscopy. Most patients will be allowed to eat normally the day before the procedure. You may be asked to refrain from taking anything by mouth following 7 p.m. the night before the capsule endoscopy. It is crucial to follow the directions provided to you by your provider. There may also be additional instructions regarding your medications. In most cases, your medications will be resumed as usual a few hours after ingesting the pill capsule. However, in certain circumstances, specifically in patients on blood thinners (i.e., aspirin, Coumadin®, Plavix®, warfarin, anti-inflammatories), and in diabetics, additional instructions will be provided.

What should I expect on the day of the capsule endoscopy procedure?

You will be instructed to enter the office or endoscopy center 30 minutes prior to your procedure. This is to provide time to fill out patient forms and any preparation for the capsule endoscopy exam. You will be asked to wear a vest to hold the monitors that will receive the transmitted photos. Once the vest is in place, the pill capsule will be activated and swallowed.

After ingesting the capsule, you can leave the endoscopy center. You will wear the vest for the following eight hours. You will be able to consume clear liquids once two hours have passed following the exam and can have a regular meal after four hours. Once eight hours have passed, you will come back to the endoscopy center, and the vest can be removed. To learn more about undergoing a capsule endoscopy in Connecticut, please request a consultation with one of our GI specialists today.

When will I receive the results from my capsule endoscopy?

After the exam is completed, the pictures gathered from the capsule are downloaded to a computer program that generates a "movie" of your small intestine. It may take your doctor several hours to carefully review this "movie." Exam results are typically available within a week. Your provider's office will contact you once your results are ready to be reviewed.

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Are there any risks with a capsule endoscopy?

In general, the small bowel capsule endoscopy is quite a safe procedure. Statistically, complications occur in fewer than 1% of individuals. Most complications are not life-threatening; should a complication arise, it may require a hospital stay and a surgical procedure. Before the exam, a consent form will be discussed with the patient by the Connecticut GI nursing staff.

One potential risk is that the pill capsule could become caught in the intestine, causing a blockage. This typically leads to surgery and a hospital stay. It is vital to call your provider's office immediately if any symptoms develop after the capsule endoscopy, like increasing abdominal pain, fever, or bleeding.

As with any procedure, a small bowel capsule endoscopy is not perfect. There is a small, acknowledged risk that abnormalities, including cancers, might go undetected during the exam. It is vital to maintain follow-ups with your provider as recommended and to report any persistent or new symptoms.

What are the alternatives to a small bowel capsule endoscopy?

To a certain extent, the alternatives to this procedure will depend on why a small bowel capsule endoscopy is being performed in the first place. In most situations, esophagogastroduodenoscopy is the ideal approach for evaluating abnormalities in the small bowel. However, an x-ray called a small-bowel-follow-through may also be used to assess the small intestine. An enteroscopy procedure can also be used to evaluate the upper portion of the small bowel and may also be used for therapy.

Noninvasive treatments for GI diagnosis

If you need to have your small bowel assessed and do not want to have a significant, invasive procedure, call our team to learn more about noninvasive diagnostic procedures, like a capsule endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy is just one of the ways in which our Connecticut GI providers will do all that they can to ensure your health is maintained throughout all the stages of life.

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