Capsule Enteroscopy or Capsule Camera Study of the Small Intestine
This is an exam of the small intestine of your digestive system. You will need to swallow a small capsule that contains a camera with flash. The capsule is about the size of a multivitamin pill. This capsule takes 75,000 to 80,000 pictures as it passes through the digestive tract. These pictures will transmit to sensor pads that are placed on your belly. The images are stored in a small device that is held on a belt you will wear around the waist.
The visit to attach the sensor pads and swallow the capsule will take 30 minutes to an hour. You are able to leave the hospital at this time. You will need to return at the time your nurse gives you. The study takes 12 hours.
The capsule most often will pass in your bowel movement. You will not need to retrieve the capsule. In the rare case that the capsule does not pass it may need to be removed endoscopically or surgically.
The capsule must be expelled before you can have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) study. This can easily be checked by an x-ray if you’re not sure.
The nurse will call to schedule your appointment.
Please tell the nurse if you have any of the following. Further instructions may be needed for these conditions.
- Problems when you swallow
- If you have been told you have slow motility or slow gastric emptying
- If you take iron supplements
- Prior bowel surgery
To be sure good images are collected; you will need to follow the instructions below.
5-7 days before the study
Stop iron supplements and vitamins with iron.
The day before the study
- After lunch the day before your exam, start a clear liquid diet. You may have Jell-O® without fruit, soft drinks, coffee, water, or other clear liquids.
- During the afternoon you will need to drink a half gallon (2 liters) of a gastric prep to clean out the small bowel. This helps us to obtain the best pictures. Once you have finished the prep, you may resume a clear liquid diet until 10:00 PM. You will want to stay near a bathroom while you drink the gastric prep.
- Do not eat or drink after 10:00 PM. You may have sips of water with your medicine, if needed. You may take medicines up to 2 hours before your visit.
- After swallowing the capsule, you must wait 4 hours to take any other medicines.
The day of the study
- Wear 2-piece, loose fitting clothing.
- Your exam will be done at University Hospital in the Ambulatory Procedure Clinic (APC) in the C5/2 module. Park in the hospital parking ramp. There is free valet parking. Just follow the signs to valet parking at the clinic entrance. The information desk is inside the hospital entrance where volunteers can help you to find your way to the APC.
- Check in at registration in C5/2. The nurse will explain the equipment and process. The doctor will also talk with you, obtain your consent, and answer questions you may have.
- The sensors will be applied and a belt fitted to carry the Data Recorder.
- You will then swallow the capsule with 8 ounces of water.
After you swallow the capsule
- After you swallow the capsule you must not eat or drink for 2 hours. Two hours after you swallowed the capsule, you may have about 8 to12 ounces of “clear like water” liquids, for example Sprite®, 7-Up®, or water.
- Four hours after you swallow the capsule, you may have a light lunch. This may consist of a small sandwich or a little soup and 8 to12 ounces of any fluids, including coffee or milk. You may also take medicine at this time. After the exam is complete, you can return to your normal diet.
- Avoid any electromagnetic fields such as an MRI machine or amateur (ham) radio device. Police or emergency radios may also cause problems with the capsule signal.
- The Data Recorder is a small computer and is very fragile. You cannot bang the device or get it wet.
- Avoid bending or stooping to help maintain good contact of the sensors.
After you complete the capsule study
1. You will be told when to return to the clinic and how to remove the belt and patches. You will need to return the Data Recorder and belt on time so that it will be ready for the next patient.
2. Do not have an MRI unless the capsule has been expelled with a bowel movement. If there is any question, an x-ray can be done to check.
3. Report any new belly pain, nausea, or vomiting to your doctor if the capsule has not passed. You may need an x-ray exam.
Digestive Health Center, 8am to 5pm weekdays, (608) 890-5000.
After clinic hours, please call (608) 890-5000. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live outside of the Madison area, please call 1-855-342-9900.
UW Health Digestive Health Center
750 University Row
University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics
GI Procedure Clinic
600 Highland Avenue
Meriter Hospital Digestive Health Center
202 S. Park Street
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/24/2013
Copyright © 04/11/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6612
Print Health Fact For You