Frequently Asked Questions
How large is the PillCam™ small bowel (SB) capsule?
About the size of a large vitamin capsule. It measures 11mm x 26mm and weighs less than 4 grams.
Does the PillCam™ SB capsule replace a colonoscopy?
No. It is still important to view your colon with a colonoscopy – especially when initially diagnosing Crohn's disease.
However, in 30% of patients diagnosed with Crohn's, disease activity is confined only to the small bowel. When this is the case, the PillCam™ SB capsule may offer an alternative to follow-up colonoscopies.1
How should I prepare for the procedure?
Capsule endoscopy with the PillCam™ SB capsule requires little preparation. Although your healthcare professional will give you specific instructions beforehand, an empty stomach allows for optimal viewing conditions, so you should start a liquid diet after lunch the day prior to the examination. Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the procedure.
What can I expect during the procedure?
The doctor or nurse will prepare you for the endoscopic examination by placing sensors on your abdomen. The video capsule is swallowed with water and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a recorder that you will wear close to your waist.
You'll be able to eat four hours after the capsule camera ingestion, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. You can move around freely throughout the process. The examination is over approximately eight hours after the capsule is ingested.
What happens after the procedure?
The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement. You shouldn't feel any pain or discomfort. After the procedure, the recorder and sensors will be removed and the images will be made available for your doctor to review. There is no recovery time with the PillCam™ SB capsule and no need to retrieve or return the capsule.
What if the capsule gets stuck in my body?
While this is a rare occurrence, your physician will determine the best course of action to manage a retained capsule. Options for managing a retained capsule might include prescribing medications to help reduce the narrowing of the small bowel. This could allow the capsule to pass naturally. Other options could include retrieving the capsule endoscopically or through surgical intervention.
What is the PillCam Patency capsule?
If your doctor knows or suspects that you have narrowing or blockage of your small bowel, he or she may give you a PillCam Patency capsule to help determine if the PillCam™ SB capsule is right for you. The PillCam Patency capsule is a dissolvable capsule that provides a simple, safe and convenient way for your doctor to assess your risk of the capsule getting stuck during the procedure.
What are the risks of the small bowel capsule endoscopy procedure?
- The risks of the PillCam capsule endoscopy procedures include capsule retention, aspiration, or skin irritation. The risks of the PillCam Patency capsule include capsule retention and aspiration
- Endoscopic placement may present additional risks
- Medical, endoscopic, or surgical intervention may be necessary to address any of these complications, should they occur
- After ingesting the PillCam™ SB capsule and until it is excreted, patients should not be near any source of powerful electromagnetic fields, such as one created near an MRI device
- Please consult your physician for further information.