What if you could swallow a pill that would pass through your small intestine and capture video that your doctor could then use to diagnose all kinds of gastrointestinal problems? It’s possible and gastroenterologists at CarePoint Health like Geethan Sivananthan, MD, are doing it.
According to Dr. Sivananthan, thepill camera procedure is called a capsule endoscopy and it allows doctors to visualize upwards of 30 feet of intestine that cannot be visualized when using a traditional endoscope.
“The patient swallows a pill with a mini-camera encapsulated inside,” says Dr. Sivananthan. “The pill is synced to a wireless belt that is attached to the patient. The patient goes home for eight hours, then returns the belt to us. We upload the images and are able to provide results within 24 to 48 hours.”
The small intestine is primarily responsible for digesting food and is the source of many unexplained symptoms. A capsule endoscopy can help your gastroenterologist determine the cause of such things as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia.
The pill and colonoscopies
The colon (also known as the large intestine) is the final stop in food’s journey through the digestive tract. According to the American Cancer Society, at this time the pill option for colonoscopies is only available as a follow-up procedure for people who have not been able to complete a colonoscopy, not as its own screening test.