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Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of the digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-size capsule that is swallowed. When the capsule travels through the digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder worn on a belt around the waist. This procedure can provide benefits to traditional endoscopy which involves passing a long, flexible tube equipped with a video camera down the throat or through the rectum.

When both endoscopy and colonoscopies fail to find the source of the GI-related concern, Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Gastroenterology Department offers capsule endoscopy to diagnose conditions that are difficult to detect. It is a simple process in which the patient simply swallows a capsule contains a tiny camera which takes images as it passes along the gastrointestinal tract. The collected images are then transferred wirelessly to an external receiver worn by the patient. After a few hours, the images are transferred to a computer for review and interpretation.

Indications for Capsule Endoscopy

A pediatric specialist might recommend a capsule endoscopy procedure to:

  • Determine the cause of unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Evaluate patients with suspected Crohn’s disease
  • Diagnose small bowel tumors.
  • Screen for polyps.
  • Evaluate chronic abdominal pain of unknown etiology.

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