What is the purpose of a Capsule Endoscopy?

A capsule endoscopy gives your doctor a picture of the inside of your digestive system that cannot be seen through X-rays.

Your gastroenterologist will use the images from this test to look for abnormalities in your small bowel, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Polyps
  • Tumors
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Erosions (superficial ulcers)
  • Other suspected small bowel diseases

Your gastroenterologist may also use a capsule endoscopy to check progress after treatment for these health problems.


When preparing for the procedure, a patient needs to provide the physician with a complete medical history, a list of current medications being taken, and disclose whether or not they have a pacemaker or other electromedical devices. The physician asks if there are any issues that may impact the procedures such as trouble swallowing, allergies or medical conditions. After it has been assessed that it is safe to proceed with the test, a patient can prepare in the following ways:

  • Have nothing to eat or drink for approximately 12 hours before the procedure to ensure bowels are clear
  • Discontinue any medications prior to the procedure
  • Bowel cleansing may be suggested prior to the procedure
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing

The Day of Your Procedure

The procedure itself it painless, safe, and easily tolerated.

A sensor device, used to record the transmitted images from the camera capsule, is attached to the patient's abdomen with an adhesive belt and will remain there for approximately 8 to 12 hours. After the sensor is attached, the patient is instructed to swallow the capsule with a glass of water. The capsule's smooth surface makes it fairly easy to swallow, similar to a large vitamin pill.

Patients can go about their day as the recorder captures pictures from the camera capsule. Patients may carry out normal activities, including very light food and liquid intake, but should not exercise during the 8 to 12 hour time frame. At the end of the day, the sensor device and belt are removed.


After the procedure, patients may exercise and resume taking regularly prescribed medications unless a physician instructs otherwise. The camera capsule is disposable and will pass painlessly and naturally during bowel elimination within 24 to 48 hours of the procedure. The capsule does not need to be recovered.

For additional information, click on the link below to view a PDF created by the A.G.A. for this procedure.

Capsule Endoscopy