Capsule endoscopy

You swallow a small capsule for this test that takes pictures of the small bowel.

A capsule endoscopy is a test that takes pictures of the inside of the digestive tract, including all of the small bowel. It may be used to diagnose small bowel cancer.

You swallow a capsule that is about the size of a large pill. Inside the capsule, there is a very small camera, a battery, a light and a transmitter. The camera takes multiple pictures per second for several hours. The pictures are sent to a small recording device. The recording device is attached to a belt that you wear around your waist.

You will have to follow a special diet the day before and on the day of the test. Your nurse or doctor will tell you more about this. You can keep doing your normal activities while the camera is taking pictures.

About 8 hours after swallowing the capsule, you will need to return the recording device and belt to the hospital. The pictures from the recording device are put onto a computer and your doctor will look at them. The capsule is usually passed out of your back passage (rectum) naturally when you go to the toilet.

If you are concerned the capsule has not passed out, contact your doctor. They can arrange an x-ray to check.