Do Patients Really Prefer Colon Capsule Endoscopy Over Colonoscopy?

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Capsule colonoscopy is an outpatient, non-invasive method of exploring the colon. It consists of the ingestion of a capsule with two built-in mini cameras that will take images of the large intestine.

What Is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy, also known as video capsule endoscopy or wireless capsule endoscopy, uses a tiny wireless camera placed in a pill-sized capsule to take pictures of your GI tract. When you swallow the capsule, the camera begins to move through your GI tract and takes several pictures, which are then transferred to a recording device around your waist.
Though capsule endoscopy can help visualize several GI tract parts, it is specifically used to view the small intestine, which is difficult to access with conventional endoscopy techniques.

Why is it done?

Capsule endoscopy At Triborough GI is performed to detect:

  • The cause of GI bleeding
  • Polyps or tumors in the GI tract
  • Barrett’s esophagus and enlarged veins in the esophagus
  • GI conditions, including celiac disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), and Crohn’s disease
  • Abdominal pain with no specific cause

Slightly more than 50% of people with an inherited risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) agree to undergo screening for this cancer, and most prefer colonoscopy to colon capsule endoscopy—even though these are equally effective screening tools. Colonoscopy should therefore remain the first-choice screening strategy for subjects with a familial risk of CRC, with colon capsule endoscopy as an acceptable alternative.

Risk of CRC increases 2-fold to 5-fold in first-degree relatives of individuals who were younger than 60 years when they developed the cancer, or in persons with 2 or more first-degree relatives with CRC. Clinical practice guidelines therefore recommend colonoscopy every 5 years, starting at the age of 40 or 10 years less than the index case at first diagnosis.

Colonoscopy is a standard procedure for detecting CRC and advanced adenomas. One advantage of colonoscopy over other screening tests is that polypectomy can be performed during the examination. However, colonoscopy is an invasive procedure that can generate complications.

Fewer than 40% of people with a familial risk of CRC therefore undergo their recommended colonoscopies.

Colon capsule endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that detects advanced neoplasia with a similar level of accuracy as colonoscopy. It has therefore been proposed as a cost-effective alternative to colonoscopy that might increase screening uptake.

Risks Related to Capsule Endoscopy

Though Capsule Endoscopy is a safe procedure, it poses a small risk of the capsule getting stuck in your GI tract. This is common in people experiencing a narrowing in their GI tract due to:

  • The presence of a large tumor or polyp
  • An inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • A previous injury or surgery that causes a narrowing in your GI tract

Generally, the capsule that is stuck will pass on its own, but it may cause symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea. In such circumstances, surgery may be required to remove it.
Your doctor may use the following before a capsule endoscopy to evaluate the chances of capsule retention:

  • Patency Capsule – This capsule will either pass during a bowel movement or dissolve in your GI tract
  • Corticosteroids – These drugs help reduce your GI tract inflammation
  • Imaging – An MRI or CT scan can detect a narrowing in the GI tract

Capsule endoscopy may not be recommended if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have implanted devices like defibrillators and pacemakers
  • Have swallowing disorders

How Do You Prepare for the Procedure?

  • Follow a liquid diet a day before your procedure
  • Avoid medications that may interfere with the camera
  • Take a laxative solution to clear your GI tract
  • Avoid eating or drinking before 10 to 12 hours of your procedure

What You Can Expect during the Procedure

  • Procedure Review
    Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you to let you know what you can expect.
  • Device Setup
    You’ll have to briefly remove your shirt, and electrode patches will be placed on your chest and abdomen, which will be connected to a recording device placed on your waist.
  • Capsule Swallowing
    You will be asked to swallow the capsule with some water.
  • Continuing Daily Activities
    Once you have swallowed the capsule, you can continue your routine activities for the next 8 hours, as long as you avoid strenuous activities. Also, make sure to wait for 2 hours before drinking beverages and 4 hours before having small snacks.

How long does it take for my Capsule Endoscopy results?

The Capsule Endoscopy camera takes thousands of photos as it passes through your digestive tract. Images are then saved on the recorder and transferred to a computer with specific software that strings the images together to create a video. Your doctor will then watch the video to look for any abnormalities within your digestive tract.

Results of your Capsule Endoscopy may take anywhere from a few days to a week. Once your doctor has reviewed all the data, they will share the results with you.

Triborough GI has the top NYC gastroenterologists in Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx. Our doctors provide only the most specialized and extensive care. Our motto is that the patient’s care comes first! Highly reputable and top-rated in NYC, our gastroenterologists will thoroughly examine, diagnose and treat you in any way they can.

Schedule an appointment at (718) 332-0600 today with one of our Triborough GI doctors at our Brooklyn, Staten Island or Bronx locations for any questions or concerns you have regarding your Capsule Endoscopy procedure.


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