Capsule (Pillcam)

At the Royal Free the Centre for Minimally Invasive Gastroenterology has many years of experience in video capsule endoscopy, having reported over 4,000 cases.

We use the PillCam system and our practitioners are highly experienced in the delivery and reporting of each capsule type – upper GI, small bowel and colon (large intestine) – with high rates of successful completion.

PillCam is a breakthrough technology that squeezes a “TV studio” into a capsule, providing a video recording that can span the entire 7 metres of digestive tract from mouth to rectum.

We can investigate and diagnose digestive disorders without necessarily using the traditional, more invasive endoscopy methods.

  © 2017 Medtronic plc.

How it works:

  • Simply swallow the disposable capsule with a glass of water.
  • You can return immediately home while the camera moves its way through the gut propelled like any food. •The procedure is painless.
  • There is no need to be sedated or escorted.
  • There is no need to retrieve the disposable PillCam, which is passed naturally.
  • Once the PillCam is expelled, the receiver is returned to our unit and the video is downloaded, where it is viewed and reported by expert practitioners.
  • Results will be available to the patient within 72 hours of the test.

PillCam enables the clinician to differentiate disorders arising from the inner lining (like inflammation, ulcers, polyps and diverticulosis) from those arising from deep within the lining (like irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia).

PillCam video capsule, therefore, allows the gastroenterologist to direct the ongoing pathway depending on whether symptoms are shown to be of the mucosal lining or deeper sensory-motor in origin.

In a minority of patients, where the PillCam establishes an abnormality requiring biopsy or removal of a large polyp, a conventional endoscopy would then be advised.

Symptoms that can be investigated using PillCam:

  • Heartburn and reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating and distension
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Altered bowel habit
  • Positive faecal occult blood

Other indications for PillCam:

  • Screening for colonic polyps / cancer
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Screening for Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Follow up of inflammatory bowel disease

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