Capsule endoscopy helps your Charleston Gastroenterology Center doctor evaluate the part of the bowel that cannot be reached by traditional upper endoscopy or by colonoscopy. The most common reason for doing capsule endoscopy is to search for a cause of bleeding from the small intestine. Detecting polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), ulcers, and tumors of the small intestine are other disorders this procedure may detect. A pill-sized video capsule, called an “endoscope” is used, which has its own lens and light source.

Preparing for the Procedure

Your Charleston Gastroenterology Center nurse or doctor will provide you with preparation instructions before the examination.

What to Expect

With adhesive sleeves, a sensor array will be applied to your abdomen by your Charleston Gastroenterology Center doctor or nurse. The capsule endoscope is ingested with water. It then passes through your digestive tract naturally while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight (8) hours. Following the capsule ingestion, unless your physician instructs you otherwise, you will be able to drink clear liquids after two (2) hours and eat a light meal after four (4) hours. You will have to avoid vigorous physical activity, such as running or jumping, during the study. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination or be near an MRI machine.


You will need to go back to the Charleston Gastroenterology Center to return the data recorder and sensor array so that the images acquired during your exam can be downloaded to a workstation for review. After the doctor has looked at this video, you will be contacted with the results. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing or increasing chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately. The capsule is disposable, passes naturally with your bowel movement, almost always without pain or discomfort.