Pill Cam (Capsule Endoscopy)


What is small bowel capsule endoscopy (PillCam SB)?
Small bowel capsule endoscopy enables your doctor to examine the three portions (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) of your small intestine. Your doctor will use a vitamin-sized pill video capsule as an endoscope, which has its own camera and light source. While the video capsule travels through your body, images are sent to a data recorder you will wear on a waist belt. Most patients consider the test comfortable. Afterwards, your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

PillCam Endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia, in most cases where other diagnostic procedures failed to determine the reason for your symptoms. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases, the method can help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or to monitor the effect of therapeutics.

What should I expect during PillCam SB endoscopy?
The staff will prepare you for the examination by placing a belt that contains sensors across your abdomen. The PillCam endoscope is ingested and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on a belt for approximately eight to twelve hours as directed by your provider.

You will be able to eat four hours after swallowing the capsule ingestion unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement. You should not feel any pain or discomfort during capsule excretion.

What should I expect after PillCam SB endoscopy?
At the end of the procedure, you will need to return to the office to return the equipment (waist belt, data recorder, and battery pack). The equipment must be returned no later than 10 AM on the day following the procedure. The images acquired during your exam will be downloaded to a workstation for physician to review. After the doctor has looked at this video, you will be contacted with the results. After ingesting the capsule and until it is excreted, you should not have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination or be near a MRI device.

What are the possible complications of PillCam SB endoscopy?
Although complications may occur, they are rare when staff who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. A potential risk could be retention of the capsule. It is important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing, increasing chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.



Before your exam:


1 week before your exam:

  • Discontinue medications containing iron.This includes multivitamins with iron

The day before your exam:

At noon, begin a clear liquid diet (NO red or purple liquids):

  • Water
  • Clear broth or bouillon
  • Coffee or tea (without milk or non-dairy creamer)
  • Gatorade®, Pedialyte®, or Powerade®
  • Carbonated & non-carbonated soft drinks
  • Kool-Aid or other fruit-flavored drinks
  • Strained fruit juices (no pulp)
  • Jell-O, popsicles and hard candy

 Between 4 and 6 pm:

  • Start the bowel preparation.  Instructions for bowel preparation will be provided when you schedule the PillCam

10 hours before your exam:

  • Stop drinking all liquids

The day of your exam:

  • You may take medications up to 2 hours before your exam with a sip of water. Our staff will discuss your medication schedule with you when you arrive.
  • We will be placing a belt with sensors across your abdomen, over your clothing.  Please wear an upper garment of thin, natural fiber cloth (such as a T-shirt) that is long enough to reach the hip level. both the belt and the recorder will be visible.