Dr Rishi Goel is a specialist Gastroenterologist with expertise in Endoscopy and Inflammatory bowel disease. He has travelled internationally with a number of clinical attachments abroad, as well as publishing many articles he is currently leading clinical trials in the search for ever more effective treatments.
What is video capsule endoscopy?
A tiny camera in a capsule is used to explore conditions of the small bowel. This is a new service that offers a simple way to investigate an area of the body that is difficult to reach. Traditional endoscopy involves the patient having to undergo invasive procedures or have imaging scans that require specialist operators.
Instead, with a MiroCam video capsule endoscopy, patients are asked to swallow a small disposable capsule, roughly the size of an ordinary tablet, which contains a camera that takes images of the gastrointestinal tract as it travels naturally through your digestive system. These images are transmitted to a data recorder the patient wears on a belt. This data is later transferred to a computer for interpretation by a specialist doctor. The disposable camera is passed out of the body in your stools.
What conditions can it check for?
If you’ve been suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms, it can be worrying as to what’s going on. This device allows us to offer a simple, fast test that can give patients peace of mind. What’s more it has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and is known to be a safe and simple procedure.
Common conditions it can investigate:
- Persistent diarrhoea
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Persistent iron deficiency anaemia
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Coeliac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
State-of-the art technology for easy diagnosis
Advances in technology, mean the small bowel can now be accurately examined in a non-invasive way. Previously options tended to be confined to traditional endoscopy techniques, such as oral enteroscopy or rectum ileoscopy, that can be uncomfortable for the patient and technically challenging for the doctor performing the procedure.
While other methods for exploring the small bowel, like barium meal imaging and computed tomography (CT) don’t always give a clear picture, and MRI scans which are clear, require a radiologist with specialist experience to interpret the results.
In contrast, the MiroCam® video capsule endoscopy system, is more convenient for patients and delivers excellent lens resolution, providing high definition images, not only of the small bowel but also of the whole gastrointestinal tract. New capsules can be used to examine the oesophagus and colon.
Due to the ease of this technique it can be used to screen patients quickly. It’s also an effective way to reduce waiting time for patients, who may be worrying about results. This is because the images can be quickly downloaded and interpreted by an experienced gastroenterologist. Doctors are then usually able to send patients a report of their findings within 24 hours. These results are then discussed at a follow-up clinic appointment.
How to prepare for video capsule endoscopy
- You are able to have a light lunch the day before the investigation, and then a fast of clear fluids.
- There’s an initial 30 minute appointment during which the capsule is ingested.
- You’ll need to wear a data recorder on a belt, and have small sensor pads stuck onto your abdomen. Once these have has been attached, you’ll be free to go about your normal day – including going to work, returning approximately 8 hours later. This could be that evening or the next day, to give back the data recorder.
- Four hours after you’ve swallowed the capsule you’re allowed to eat and drink as normal.