Capsule Endoscopy in Ogden, UT

capsule endoscope ogden utah

It’s not easy to get a view inside the human digestive tract. While a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy are helpful for providing pictures of what is happening in the bowels and the esophagus and stomach, they don’t provide a complete view of the small intestine. To get pictures of the small intestine at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay we may utilize a marvel of technology, the capsule endoscopy.

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What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a pill-sized wireless camera to visually examine the inside lining of the three portions of the small intestine, which includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The camera will take a series of photographs as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract.

These photographs are sent wirelessly to a small recording device that is worn on the body. The photographs are then downloaded to a computer about 24 hours after the procedure. The capsule will then be passed through the digestive tract by the patient.

Why do I need a Capsule Endoscopy?

While portions of the intestine can be seen during a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy procedure, these procedures are unable to provide a complete view of the small intestine. The capsule endoscopy is able to provide a view of the small intestine and is helpful in detecting some of the following conditions:

  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Polyps
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Tumor
  • Celiac disease

What is the capsule in capsule endoscopy?

The capsule we use for these procedures is an amazing piece of technology. Only about one inch long and less than one-half inch wide, it resembles a vitamin pill. Inside the capsule is a tiny camera that takes multiple pictures per second as the capsule works its way down the digestive system. The capsule contains the camera, battery, transmitter, and lights to illuminate the scene as it takes pictures. These pictures are transmitted to a receiver that is worn on a belt on the patient’s abdomen. The capsule is a one-time use wonder that is passed in a normal bowel movement when it completes the journey through the digestive system.

How is a capsule endoscopy done?

To start a capsule endoscopy, Dr. Gonzales or another staff member will discuss the procedure with you. Next, sensors are placed on your chest with adhesive patches. These sensors have antennae that attach to the receiver/recording device. You’ll wear the recorder on a belt for the entire procedure. The capsule camera will transmit its images and the antennae on your abdomen will receive the signal and feed the data to the recorder. The recorder collects and stores the images.

Now, it’s time to swallow the camera. The capsule is covered with a slippery coating to make it easier to swallow. Once you swallow it, you won’t feel or sense the capsule at all during the entire procedure.

While the capsule is making its way through your digestive system, you can drive and go to work if your job isn’t overly strenuous. But you will need to avoid strenuous exercise, such as running and jumping, while the capsule is in your system.

You need to wait for two hours after you swallow the capsule to resume drinking clear liquids. After four hours, you can have a light lunch or snack. The capsule endoscopy is usually complete after about eight hours, or when you see the camera capsule in the toilet after a bowel movement, whichever comes first. You’ll then remove the patches and the recorder, pack them in the bag we provide and follow our instructions for returning the equipment. The capsule can be flushed down the toilet.

The results are viewed

When we receive your recorder, Dr. Gonzales transfers the images from the recorder to a computer. Software strings the images together to create a video. Dr. Gonzales then watches the entire video to look for abnormalities within your digestive tract. He will share those results with you.

What happens to the capsule?

The capsule is passed just like food. It will end up in the toilet after a bowel movement. Some people pass the capsule in just hours, while others may take several days. If you haven’t seen the capsule yet in two weeks, we need to hear from you. We may need to do an x-ray or CT scan to check if the capsule is still in your body.

Otherwise, the capsule can be flushed down the toilet. It does not pose any environmental harm.

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Who is a good candidate for a capsule endoscopy?

This test has few restrictions; most anyone can have it done. These are some reasons Dr. Gonzales may recommend a capsule endoscopy for a patient:

  • Diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s
  • Find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Diagnose cancer
  • Diagnose celiac disease
  • Screen for polyps
  • Use as a follow-up after inconclusive imaging tests

How long does it take to complete a capsule endoscopy?

A capsule endoscopy is complete when the capsule is spotted in the toilet after a bowel movement, or after eight hours, whichever comes first.

What are the risks with a capsule endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is a safe procedure with few risks. There is a risk that the capsule can become lodged in the digestive tract. The risk of this is very small, but it could be higher in patients who have a condition that causes a narrowing somewhere in the digestive tract. We may allow the capsule more time to leave your body, or if it is causing signs and symptoms it could indicate a bowel obstruction and it must be removed. This is will be done through surgery or a traditional endoscopy.

While this procedure can provide a more accurate and detailed result than an x-ray, a capsule endoscopy is unable to perform therapy in the area of concern. A capsule endoscopy is a rapidly improving technology that is making conditions of the small intestine much easier to diagnose at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay, serving patients from Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Call 801.475.3680 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule an appointment.


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Ogden Clinic G.I. at McKay
4403 Harrison Blvd, #4650
Ogden UT 84403

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4403 Harrison Blvd, #4650 Ogden, UT, 84403 | 801.475.3680