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capsule endoscopy

A pill that's easier to swallow

Advocate South Suburban Hospital now offers an innovative alternative to endoscopy. Read these frequently asked questions about the new capsule endoscopy.

What is capsule endoscopy?

It is a procedure that produces video-quality pictures of a patient's gastrointestinal tract for quick diagnoses. Patients swallow a "capsule" that looks like a large pill, but is really a camera. Over several hours, the capsule records 50,000+ images of the patient's small bowel.

What conditions can it help detect?

Gastrointestinal bleeding, tumors or obstructions, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and early Crohn's disease.

Who are candidates for capsule endoscopy?

People with unexplained abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, bleeding or weight loss.

What are the benefits?

The capsule "sees" where invasive tools-like endoscopes-can't reach, without hospitalization or sedation.

The procedure may also make some exploratory surgeries, diets and medications unnecessary.

Is the procedure uncomfortable?

Not at all. Patients swallow the capsule, wear a belt with a recording device and go about their day with no cramping or discomfort.

Later, patients drop the recorder off at the hospital. Physicians analyze the stored images to pinpoint the precise location of problems. The capsule is easily excreted and does not need to be recovered.

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