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Capsule Endoscopy


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.


The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • You may need a test before your procedure to check for narrow or blocked areas in your intestine. The test will show if you are at risk for the capsule endoscope getting trapped in your intestine. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your procedure:

You may need to drink a liquid that cleans out your intestines. Ask about directions for eating and drinking before your procedure.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • You may need medicine to help clean out your intestines or decrease air bubbles.


What will happen:

  • 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. The capsule will travel through your body the same way your food does and take 2 to 3 pictures every second.
  • You will be able to go home. Your healthcare provider 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. It will take up to 8 hours for the capsule to pass through your small bowel. Your healthcare provider will remove the sensors and recorder when the procedure is complete.

After your procedure:

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


  • You cannot make it to your procedure on time.
  • You begin to vomit.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.
  • Your bowel movements are black or have blood in them.


  • 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.
  • Without the procedure, you may not learn the cause of your symptoms. Your symptoms may get worse. You may not get the treatment you need.

Care Agreement

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.

© 2016 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.