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Diagnostic Testing
Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule Endoscopy

Endoscopy Procedure (Digestive System)

What is the test?

Capsule endoscopy is a noninvasive technology that enables physicians to “see” the entire twenty-one-foot length of the small intestine. The capsule endoscope is a large pill containing a color camera chip, a wide-angle lens, illumination, and a radio transmitter. The patient takes the pill with a large glass of water and for the next eight hours the camera snaps two images per second as the capsule works its way through the digestive tract. Capsule endoscopy helps identify diseases of the small intestine (such as obscure bleeding, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, and small bowel cancer), which are typically difficult to diagnose using traditional imaging or endoscopic technologies.

How do I prepare?

You may consume nothing after midnight on the night before the procedure. Some patients may be given a laxative to take, as well.

What can I expect during the procedure?

You will be asked to check in early in the morning at Outpatient Registration. Once you arrive in the Endoscopy Department, a nurse will greet you, take your health history and blood pressure, and answer any questions you have about the exam. You will be given the capsule to swallow with a glass of water. The nurse will attach an 8-lead sensor array, which is a group of taped-on latex-free sensors that are placed strategically around your abdomen to record signaled images from the capsule. The sensory array looks very much like EKG patches. You will also be asked to wear a data recorder on an adjustable belt that goes around your waist, which receives and stores images as you go about your day. Before leaving the Endoscopy Department, the nurse will give you instructions including dietary restrictions and activity guidelines.

You will return to the Endoscopy Department eight hours later and your nurse will remove the sensors and the data recorder. The capsule will continue to travel through the intestines, to be expelled during a bowel movement and flushed away.

How and when will I get my test results?

The transmitter delivers over 50,000 images during the 8-hour procedure. These images are downloaded into a computer so that your gastroenterologist can review them. Test results from capsule endoscopy are generally available within a week. The gastroenterologist will notify you with the findings and will also send a copy of the report to your primary care physician.

Where is the test performed?

Capsule endoscopy is available at Cayuga Medical Center at 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96 in Ithaca.

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