Capsule endoscopy is a special form of endoscopy for visualizing the gastrointestinal tract: a capsule camera is swallowed, which automatically takes pictures of the mucous membrane on its way through the stomach, small intestine and large intestine and sends them to a portable data recorder sends. These recordings are later reviewed by a doctor and examined for pathological changes.
The main indication for the use of capsule endoscopy is in the examination of the small intestine, where it has a firm place in the diagnosis of diseases of the small intestine. In particular, unclear bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, in which gastroscopy and colonoscopy did not provide any indication of a source of bleeding, is the main indication for this form of endoscopy. However, capsule endoscopy is certainly not important for the examination of the esophagus and stomach and also for the examination of the large intestine with a capsule has not yet been able to establish itself.
It is important to note that one must prepare for a capsule endoscopy with a thorough colon cleansing. The most important contraindications are known or suspected constrictions (stenoses) in the intestines, as this could lead to an intestinal blockage and the need for an operation. The capsule endoscopy is performed as part of an inpatient stay. The capsule is swallowed in the morning of the day of admission and discharged in the morning of the next day; the recordings can only be evaluated and submitted later.
Of course, no interventions can be carried out as part of the capsule endoscopy: it is not possible, for example, to take samples (biopsies) or stop bleeding. In the case of a pathological finding, an enteroscopy may have to be performed.