Medication Guide App

Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy


Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

Small bowel capsule endoscopy is a procedure to take pictures of the inside of your small bowel (intestine). The pictures may show if you have growths, swelling, or bleeding areas in your intestine. You may need this procedure if you have symptoms such as blood in your bowel movements or chronic stomach pain.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • You may have stomach pain during your procedure. The pictures taken by the capsule may not be clear. The pictures may not show the cause of your symptoms. You may need another endoscopy procedure. The capsule may get trapped in your body if your intestines are narrow or blocked. You may need surgery to remove the capsule from your body.

  • If you do not have the capsule endoscopy, you may not learn the cause of your symptoms. Your symptoms may get worse. You may not get the treatment you need.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • Bowel cleanser: This helps clean out your bowel before your procedure.

  • Anti-gas medicine: This decreases air bubbles in your small bowel.

  • Prokinetic medicine: This may help your bowel empty completely. It may also help move the capsule through your small bowel during the test.

During your procedure:

  • Small sensors will be taped to the skin on your abdomen and connected to a recorder. The sensors transfer the pictures of your small bowel to the recorder. The recorder will be attached to a belt that you wear during the procedure. You will be given the pill-sized capsule endoscope to swallow. If you have problems swallowing, the capsule may be placed into your small intestine with a scope. The scope is a long, bendable tube with a light and camera on one end. Once you swallow the capsule, it will travel through your body the same way your food does. The capsule takes 2 to 3 pictures of your small bowel every second.

  • You may be able to leave the care setting while the pictures are being taken. Your caregiver will tell you when to return. Two hours after you swallow the capsule, you may be able to drink liquids and take medicines. Four hours after you swallow the capsule, you may also be able to eat a small meal. You will need to avoid heavy exercise during the procedure. It will take up to 8 hours for the capsule to pass through your small bowel. Caregivers will remove the sensors and recorder when the procedure is complete. The pictures from the recorder will be transferred into a computer.

After your procedure:

The capsule will come out in your bowel movement within 2 days. You do not need to return the capsule to your caregiver. Caregivers view the pictures of your small bowel and look for any problems.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.