Capsule Endoscopy (cont.)
Dennis Lee, MD
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In this Article
What is capsule endoscopy?
Capsule endoscopy is a technology that uses a swallowed video capsule to take photographs of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. For capsule endoscopy, the intestines are first cleared of residual food and bacterial debris with the use of laxatives and/or purges very similar to the laxatives and purges used before colonoscopy. A large capsule-larger than the largest pill-is swallowed by the patient. The capsule contains one or two video chips (cameras), a light bulb, a battery, and a radio transmitter. As the capsule travels through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, it takes photographs rapidly. The photographs are transmitted by the radio transmitter to a small receiver that is wornon the waist ofthe patient who is undergoing the capsule endoscopy. At the end of the procedure, approximately 8 hours later, the photographs are downloaded from the receiver into a computer, and the images are reviewed by a physician. The capsule is passed by the patient into the toilet and flushed away. There is no need to retrieve the capsule!
What are the limitations of capsule endoscopy?
While the capsule provides the best means of viewing the inside of the small intestine, there are many inherent limitations and problems with its use, the most important of which is thatthe capsuledoes not allow for therapy. Other problems include:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2015
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