PillCam SB Video Capsule

The PillCam SB video capsule is a pill that you swallow that takes pictures of your small intestine, the organ that falls between your stomach and large intestine. It is the size a vitamin pill and has a miniature camera contained in it.

The PillCam video capsule allows your doctor to see your entire small intestine – an organ you could never fully see before this capsule was developed. It also helps your doctor determine the cause of many unresolved symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia. The small intestine is primarily responsible for digesting food and is the source of many of these unexplained symptoms.

After you arrive at the doctor’s office the nurse or doctor will attach sensors to your stomach with an adhesive so they won’t come off. These sensors allow the video capsule to wirelessly transmit images of your small intestine. You will then be asked to put a Velcro belt on with a data recorder attached to it. This recorder is the size of a CD walkman and actually stores all the pictures taken by the video capsule. You will then be asked to swallow the vitamin-sized video capsule with a glass of water. Once the nurse or doctor has determined that you have successfully swallowed the video capsule you will be allowed to leave the office for the remainder of the day. You return to the office approximately 8 hours later to return the data recorder and to have the sensors removed from your stomach. Your doctor then loads the pictures stored on the data recorder to his or her computer to review. The doctor will then call you to walk through the results.

Common Questions and Answers:

Q: How many pictures does the PillCam SB video capsule take?
A: Approximately 50,000.
Q: How long is the procedure?
A: Approximately eight hours.
Q: How does the capsule get eliminated and will I feel it come out?
A: The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with a bowel movement, usually within 24 – 72 hours.
Q: Does the capsule hurt?
A: The video capsule has a smooth texture similar to a Tylenol capsule. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.
Q: How long is the recovery?
A: Recovery is immediate. The procedure requires no preparation or sedation.
Q: What is the difference between the PillCam video capsule and an endoscopy or colonoscopy?
A: The PillCam video capsule does not require sedation, can be administered in a doctor’s office and the recovery is immediate.
Q: How many people have undergone this procedure?
A: Approximately half a million patients worldwide.
Q: Is the procedure approved for children?
A: Yes the procedure is approved in children age 2 and older.
Q: What kinds of things will the PillCam video capsule find?
A: It has detected sources of bleeding, lesions, ulcers and tumors.
Q: What is the size of the PillCam video capsule?
A: The PillCam video capsule measures 11 mm x 26 mm and weighs less than 4 grams. It is approximately the size of a vitamin pill.
Q: Is the PillCam video capsule reimbursed by insurance?
A: The PillCam video capsule is widely covered in the U.S. by both Medicare and private insurance companies. Speak with your insurance carrier and then your physician’s office for the exact coverage as every insurance plan is different.
Q: Is the PillCam SB video capsule approved by the US Food and Drug Administration? If yes, how long has it been on the market?
A: Yes. It has been on the market since its clearance in 2001.
Q: Where is your small intestine located and what does it do?
A: Your small intestine is the organ that is between your stomach and large intestine. It is primarily responsible for digesting food.
Q: How big is the small intestine?
A: It is 21ft in length.
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