What is a Capsule Endoscopy?

A capsule endoscopy looks at the inside of your small bowel. It’s sometimes also called a video capsule endoscopy.

You swallow a capsule that contains a small disposable camera. The capsule is the size of a large pill. The camera takes thousands of pictures as it travels along your digestive system. The camera transmits the pictures wirelessly to a data recorder that you wear on your waist.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of a Capsule Endoscopy being performed is to examine the small bowel non-invasively.  It examines the part of the bowel that other tests such as endoscopy or colonoscopy might not always reach. 

What are the risks?

For the majority of patients, a Capsule Endoscopy is a very safe procedure and thankfully serious complications are rare. 

  • Sometimes the bowel is slow and the capsule does not reach the colon within the eight hours. This will show on the video and we will contact you to arrange an X-ray within a few days to see if the capsule is still in the small bowel. 

  • If the bowel preparation has not worked, or the bowel is not clean enough, the examination images may not be good enough. This may mean a repeat procedure. 

  • Sometimes, the capsule does not pass naturally and may become stuck in the gut. This may need an endoscope to retrieve the capsule. 

What are the alternatives?

You are under no obligation to have this procedure.  Any suitable alternatives should have been discussed in advance with your clinician.

You are under no obligation to have this procedure.  An alternative to Capsule Endoscopy would be an invasive endoscopy procedure.

The decision is yours as to whether to have an Capsule Endoscopy or not. However, without a Capsule Endoscopy your doctor may not be able to find a cause of your symptoms and it may be difficult to plan any further treatment.

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundatio


Dr Ajay M Verma, Dr Solange Serna

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