Capsule endoscopy

Similar to a traditional endoscopy, a capsule endoscopy enables doctors to have a close look inside the gastrointestinal tract using a pill-size capsule that contains a small video camera.

Capsule endoscopy is a painless procedure that can diagnose hiatus hernia, stomach ulcers, colon polyps, cancer and diverticulosis.

Symptoms that can be investigated
  • Heartburn and reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating and distension
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Altered bowel habit
Other indications
  • Screening for colon polyps
  • Screening and family history of colon cancer
  • Screening for Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Follow up of inflammatory bowel disease
The procedure

Rather than using a camera at the end of a tube which is inserted manually, the procedure involves swallowing a pill-sized capsule that contains a small video camera – PillCam™.

PillCam™ is a breakthrough technology that squeezes a “TV studio” into a capsule, providing a video recording that can span the entire 7 metres of digestive tract from mouth to rectum.

This innovative technique enables the camera to travel the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract, reaching areas that a traditional endoscope might not always be able to and capturing thousands of images as it goes. These are recorded wirelessly on a data recorder that patients are required to wear for the duration of the process (they’re very discreet and compact and can normally be worn attached to a belt at the waist). The capsules are disposable and will naturally pass through your body via a bowel movement.

You’ll usually be given medication to help clear the bowels before the procedure and be asked not to eat for a certain number of hours beforehand, in order to maximise the effectiveness of the test.



In a minority of patients, where the PillCam establishes an abnormality requiring biopsy or removal of a large polyp, a conventional endoscopy would then be advised.

For gastroenterologists, the initial diagnostic challenge is to determine whether the patient’s symptoms arise from mucosal damage or from submucosal sensory-motor, brain-gut disorders. PillCam video capsule allows the gastroenterologist to direct the ongoing pathway.

The Royal Free Private Patient Unit is a leader in capsule colonoscopy for bowel screening. Utilising the most up to date patient education media, we offer quick access to a truly patient centred approach. We would be happy to provide you with more information should you wish to consider this option. The capsule unit lead is Professor Owen Epstein.

MIGe Diagnotics Laboratory has over ten years of experience in video capsule, offering a range of tests using technological innovation to provide a more tolerable and less risky experience for the patient. MIGe provides minimally invasive tests in areas of bowel screening, gastroenterology as well as stress, sleep, fitness and recovery.

What are minimally invasive tests?

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