Capsule Endoscopy

Innovations from a proven leader in the field of endoscopy culminate in the latest capsule endoscopes.

Since producing the world's first gastrocamera in 1950, Olympus has achieved several milestones in the field of endoscopy. Over 50 years of endoscopic imaging experience have gone into the capsule endoscope development, and the road ahead looks even more promising.

Gastroenterologists can now enjoy the operational ease and efficiency of our capsule endoscopes for the minimally invasive observation of small bowel abnormalities.

Greater advances are sure to take place in the future, as we extend our integrated opto-digital technology and revolutionary micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology beyond the bounds of knowledge to where discovery begins.

Why is Capsule Endoscopy Performed?
A patient may receive a capsule endoscopy if he/she has shown symptoms of digestive disorders and has undergone previous tests to examine the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but which did not yield conclusive diagnostic results. Symptoms of digestive disorders include, but are not limited to, chronic abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss or anemia, and/or GI bleeding. These symptoms could be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, benign and cancerous tumors, or other digestive disorders. Capsule endoscopy is currently recognized as one of the least invasive procedures that provides direct and complete imaging of the entire small bowel.

Benefits of Capsule Endoscopy*
The primary benefit of the small bowel capsule endoscope is its ability to provide physicians with complete and direct visualization for evaluation of the small bowel. Thus, by having direct visualization, the physician has a greater ability to detect vascular abnormalities that cause GI bleeding and other symptoms.

Benefits for the patient compared to traditional radiologic imaging modalities include lower risk from the absence of exposure to radiation and minimal patient discomfort. Additionally, compared to endoscopic procedures, capsule endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is sedation-free. The patient can ingest the capsule endoscope, and go about their normal, daily routine while receiving a full examination of the small bowel, and simply return the equipment at the end of the day.

Lastly, before capsule endoscopy, if a diagnosis could not be obtained through endoscopy, enteroscopy, and/or radiologic testing, the patient would likely undergo an intraoperative enteroscopy. With capsule endoscopy, physicians can avoid having to put a patient through surgery in order to obtain direct visualization and diagnosis for conditions within the small bowel.

Contraindications / Risks
During the examination, there is a slight possibility of unexpected retention of the capsule. In the worst case, surgical removal of the capsule may be required. Patients with one of the following conditions cannot undergo the examination:

  • Patients with a cardiac pacemaker, implanted cardiac defibrillator or other implanted electronic devices.
  • Patients with known intestinal strictures, adhesions, diverticulum, obstruction or fistulas that may block the passage of the capsule endoscope.
  • Patients with significant difficulty in swallowing a tablet as large as capsule endoscope.
  • Patients with known swallowing disorders.
  • Patients who cannot undergo surgery to remove the capsule when retention of the capsule occurs.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Patients with known significant delay in passing through of the capsule endoscope in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Patients diagnosed as radiation enteritis.

Cautions for Capsule Endoscopy Patients [PDF]

*Hara MD, Amy; Leighton MD, Jonathan; Sharma MD, Virender; Fleischer MD, David. "Small Bowel: Preliminary Comparison of Capsule Endoscopy with Barium Study and CT"
Radiology. 2004; 230: 260-265.