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Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your digestive tract. The camera sits inside a vitamin-sized capsule that you swallow. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder you wear on a belt around your waist or over your shoulder.
Capsule endoscopy helps doctors see inside your small intestine — an area that isn't easily reached with conventional endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy can be used by adults and by children who can swallow the capsule. The procedure is usually started in a doctor's office.
Capsule endoscopy helps your doctor see inside your small intestine. Your small intestine, located between your stomach and your colon, can be difficult to reach with conventional endoscopy and imaging tests. Capsule endoscopy can also provide better imaging of the lining of the small intestine than can other tests.
Your doctor may recommend capsule endoscopy to help diagnose or treat:
• Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding. Capsule endoscopy can help find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding.
• Inflammatory bowel diseases. Capsule endoscopy may reveal areas of inflammation in the small intestine that can help your doctor diagnose Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
• Cancer. Capsule endoscopy can identify tumors in the small intestine that otherwise might be difficult to detect. Capsule endoscopy sometimes is done in conjunction with CT enterography because CT enterography can indicate tumors within the small bowel wall.
• Celiac disease. Some small studies suggest that capsule endoscopy can detect intestinal changes associated with celiac disease — an immune reaction to eating gluten — and can help detect complications of the condition.
• Polyps. People who have inherited polyposis syndromes that can cause polyps in the small intestine, such as Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, may occasionally have capsule endoscopy to screen for polyps.
Colonoscopy is a safe, effective method of examining the full lining of the colon and rectum, using a long, flexible, tubular instrument. It is used to diagnose colon and rectum problems and to perform biopsies and remove colon polyps. Most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis with minimal inconvenience and discomfort.
Who should have a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is routinely recommended to adults 50 years of age or older as part of a colorectal cancer screening program. Patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer may have their colonoscopy at age 40. Your physician may also recommend a colonoscopy exam if you have change in bowel habit or bleeding, indicating a possible problem in the colon or rectum.
A colonoscopy may be necessary to:
• Check unexplained abdominal symptoms
• Check inflammatory bowel disease (colitis)
• Verify findings of polyps or tumors located with a barium enema exam
• Examine patients who test positive for blood in the stool
• Monitor patients with a personal or family history of colon polyps or cancer.
How is colonoscopy performed?
The bowel must first be thoroughly cleared of all residue before a colonoscopy. This is done one to two days before the exam with a preparation prescribed by your physician.
Many patients receive intravenous sedation, or “twilight sleep” for this procedure. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and is advanced to the portion of the colon where the small intestine joins the colon. During a complete examination of the bowel, your physician will remove polyps or take biopsies as necessary.
The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. Following the colonoscopy, there may be slight discomfort, which quickly improves with the expelling of gas. Most patients can resume their regular diet and activities the same day.
An upper endoscopy (EGD) is a procedure used to visually examine your upper digestive system with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube. A specialist in diseases of the digestive system (gastroenterologist) uses endoscopy to diagnose and, sometimes, treat conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum).
The medical term for an upper endoscopy is esophagogastroduodenoscopy. An upper endoscopy may be done in your doctor's office, an outpatient surgery center or a hospital.
An upper endoscopy is used to diagnose and, sometimes, treat conditions that affect the upper part of your digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum).
Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure to:
• Investigate symptoms. Endoscopy may help your doctor determine what's causing digestive signs and symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.
• Diagnose. Your doctor may use endoscopy to collect tissue samples (biopsy) to test for diseases and conditions such as anemia, bleeding, inflammation, diarrhea or cancers of the digestive system.
• Treat. Your doctor can pass special tools through the endoscope to treat problems in your digestive system, such as burning a bleeding vessel to stop bleeding, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.
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