Capsule Endoscopy: An Overview

capsuleCapsule endoscopy is used in medicine to capture images of the digestive tract. The capsule, which contains a tiny camera, is about the size of a pill. A patient swallows the capsule and the capsule proceeds to take pictures of the intestinal tract.


Capsule endoscopy is used to examine parts of the gastrointestinal tract that cannot be seen with other types of endoscopy such as Upper Endoscopy (also known as EGD) or a colonoscope.

Unfortunately, these two types of endoscopy cannot visualize the majority of the middle portion of the gastrointestinal tract, the small intestine. Capsule endoscopy is useful when disease is suspected in the small intestine and can sometimes diagnose sources of occult bleeding or causes of abdominal pain such as Crohn’s disease, or peptic ulcers. Capsule endoscopy can be used to diagnose problems in the small intestine, but unlike EGD or colonoscopy, cannot treat pathology that may be discovered.

Common reasons for doing Capsule Endoscopy include unexplained bleeding, unexplained iron deficiency, unexplained abdominal pain, search for polyps, ulcers and tumors of small intestine and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease.

It is unclear if capsule endoscopy can replace gastroscopy in those with cirrhosis