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Capsule Endoscopy (CE)

The thought of swallowing a miniature camera to view the inside of your digestive tract used to be something out of a science fiction novel. Today it is a standard of care for diagnosing problems of the small intestine.

With a CE, your doctor can see the inside of your entire digestive tract, including and especially the small intestine which is not accessible by other procedures. Your Doctor will give you a vitamin-sized capsule to swallow and a transmitter to attach to your belt or waistband. Inside the capsule is a tiny wireless camera that will take thousands of pictures of your digestive tract as it moves its way through. The images are sent wirelessly to the transmitter on your belt to be examined by the doctor after the camera has passed through your system.

CE is used to look for the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding, diagnose certain diseases such as Chrohn’s Disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases as well as some cancers and gluten intolerance diseases such as Celiac disease. It can also be used to look for colon polyps in people who are not able to withstand a colonoscopy.

Dr. Saad Haque of Calvert Gastroenterology is specially trained to perform CE right here in the Calvert Endoscopy Center.

Preparing for Your Procedure

With any endoscopic procedure, having a clear field of vision is important to a successful outcome. That means having nothing in your upper digestive tract, from your stomach down to your small intestine. You will have to stop eating and drinking the night before your procedure and take a regimen of laxatives to empty your bowels and colon before the procedure..

If you are taking over the counter or prescription medications, you may need to stop them or delay them for some period of time prior to your procedure. Dr. Haque will review your medication list and walk you through the preparation requirements in advance of your procedure.

Unlike most endoscopic procedures, you will not be sedated during the procedure. You simply swallow the capsule, wait for the capsule to come online, then you will be able to go home or even to work.  You should take it easy for the next eight hours at least so as to not dislodge the capsule. You should not engage in any strenuous activities. Dr. Haque will let you know when you can resume eating solid food.

Even though the transmitter is wireless, it should not interfere with other electronic devices. You can continue to use your cell phone, TV remote, computer or MP3 player.  You should, however, avoid magnetic machines such as MRIs and other people with a CE transmitter (so your pictures don’t get sent wirelessly to the other person’s transmitter and vice versa).

The capsule and camera will pass normally through your system on their own usually within 24 hours. And no, you will not need to retrieve the camera once it has been passed. All the images will have been captured on the transmitter provided.

The day after your procedure, you will be able to return the transmitter to Calvert Gastroenterology for the images to be reviewed.