Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam)

Prof Memon uses capsule endoscopy to visualise and detect abnormalities of the oesophagus, small bowel and colon. The PillCam is easily swallowed, travels painlessly through the digestive tract and is naturally passed from the body. On the journey the PillCam capsule captures and transmits thousands of video images to a recorder worn by the patient. When the test is complete, the data is downloaded from the recorder to a computer where Prof Memon can view the results and draw up a report.

Preparation for the Caspule Endoscopy

Very little preparation is required for this procedure other than a clear liquid diet from lunchtime on the day prior to the test and nil by mouth 10 hours prior to the test.

On the day of the test

  • You will be connected to leads called a sensor array and a data recorder by the nurse
  • The capsule which is roughly the size if a vitamin pill is swallowed with water
  • You will go home with the data recorder in place and return 10-12 hours later
  • The data is uploaded to a computer and Professor Memon will read and report on it.

Why is it done?

To diagnose or treat:

  • Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding – identify the cause of GI bleeding
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – may reveal areas of inflammation in the small intestine to help diagnose Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Cancer – may help identify tumours on the small intestine that otherwise might be difficult to detect
  • Coeliac disease – some small studies suggest that capsule endoscopy can detect intestinal changes associated with coeliac disease
  • Polyps – People who have inherited polyposis syndromes that can cause polyps in the small intestine such as Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, may occasionally have capsule endoscopy to screen for polyps


  • Capsule Endoscopy is generally a safe procedure that carries few risks for adults or for children who are able to swallow the capsule
  • Occasionally, the capsule can become lodged in the digestive tract.
  • The risk is under 1.5% for most people who have capsule endoscopy.
  • The risk may be higher in people diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (5-13%) or people who have an intestinal blockage (up to 25%).
  • Your doctor may recommend barium X-ray, CT or MRI tests before capsule endoscopy if you have symptoms of intestinal blockage.
  • If the capsule is retained, surgery may be considered.
  • Patients who a have a permanent pacemaker may require hospitalisation during the administration of capsule endoscopy.
  • Avoid large magnets and MRI scanners while you have a capsule in place.
  • While the exam is in progress you may go about your normal routine. After the capsule passes through your gastrointestinal system, your doctor will retrieve the pictures from the capsule and view them using specialised software.

Here are some images of finds on Capsule Endoscopy