What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is a new technology which painlessly examines the small intestine/bowel. It is often used in patients with unexplained iron deficiency (cause not found with gastroscopy or colonoscopy) to determine if there is any bleeding in the small intestine.

The test involves swallowing a capsule (about the size a large vitamin pill) that takes multiple digital images of the small intestine. The small intestine is about 6 metres long, and the capsule can take about 8 hours to travel through it. During this time, images are transmitted to a data recorder which is placed around your waist. The capsule does not need to be retrieved as it is passed (usually unnoticed) into your stools.

Capsule Endoscopy is a day procedure. No sedation or anaesthetic is required. You will need to observe some dietary restriction the day prior. Please download instructions below.

You will need to attend the rooms in the morning for about half an hour (8am-8.30am) where the data recorder is attached, and you will be given the capsule to swallow. You may then leave the rooms and return late afternoon (4.00 pm) to return the attached equipment. Subsequently, the recorded digital images are downloaded to a computer and examined by the doctor the following day.

Are there any risks?

There is a small risk that the capsule could become stuck in the small bowel. This is uncommon. The estimated risk is less than 1 in 200. Surgery may be required to remove a retained (stuck) capsule. An x-ray may be requested after the test if the capsule is not seen to enter the large bowel on the recorded images. On rare occasions technical problems or capsule retention in the stomach may mean a repeat procedure needs to be performed.

It is a Medicare requirement that you have had a gastroscopy and colonoscopy in the 12 months before the Capsule Endoscopy to receive the government funding.

Please print out forms below, and follow the instructions the day before your procedure.

Capsule Endoscopy Instructions

Capsule Endoscopy Consent Form