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Holmesglen Private Hospital

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490 South Rd

Moorabbin VIC 3189

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Capsule Endoscopy


What is a Capsule Endoscopy? (PillCam™, Endocapsule™ or MiroCam™)

Capsule endoscopy is a pill/capsule that is swallowed and then takes photos of the lining of the small bowel. The capsule is the size of a large pill and contains a camera, battery, light source and transmitter. After swallowing the capsule (with a glass of water), it travels throughout the gastrointestinal tract like a piece of food. It takes 2 images per second during its travels which can take up to 8 hours – taking over 50,000 pictures! The images are transmitted to sensors and then to a data recorder placed around you waist. Once it has travelled through the gastro-intestinal tract, the capsule passes into your faeces within 24 – 48 hours. The capsule is single use and does not need to be retrieved.


What are the Risks of Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy is a very safe procedure. There is a small risk that the capsule can become stuck in the bowel as a result of a narrowing due to previous surgery, disease or abnormal anatomy. Usually the capsule eventually passes. Rarely an operation or procedure is required to remove the retained capsule. Although the capsule is big, most patients do not have a problem with swallowing the capsule. Occasionally an x-ray is needed to check that the capsule has passed in the event that the capsule is not seen to go all the way through the small bowel on the images.


What is the Cost of Capsule Endoscopy?

The capsules cost $1,200-1,500 each, but there is only a small out of pocket cost if you meet Medicare criteria.


What is the Preparation for Capsule Endoscopy?

Day before the procedure:

  • After midday- only drink clear fluids (water, clear fruit juices and cordials, clear broth/soup)
  • 7pm- mix sachet of PICOPREP with 250ml of water, stir until dissolved. Drink the whole solution, and then a full glass of water. Drink only water after this point. Do not drink after midnight. 

Day of the procedure:

  • 6am- take your normal medications with a small sip of water
  • 8:30/9am- arrive for appointment (no anaesthetic/sedation is used so you can drive)
  • After swallowing the capsule- fast for 1 hour then drink a glass of water every hour for the next 3 hours. After four hours you can eat and drink normally again.
  • 4.30pm- return to the office to remove the attached belt and data recorder.

The images are then uploaded onto a computer and examined.


You will be phoned and an appointment arranged once the results are ready.


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