The internal gastrointestinal tract can be viewed with a traditional endoscope, a flexible tube equipped with a video camera inserted through the mouth or anus during a gastroscopy or colonoscopy, or using a capsule endoscopy. While traditional endoscopies are painless, the capsule endoscope offers an even less invasive technique. By swallowing a tiny vitamin-sized wireless camera capsule, images of your entire gastrointestinal tract can be taken to diagnose better and treat conditions that may not have been diagnosed with a traditional gastroscopy or colonoscopy. While the capsule endoscopy is not as widely available as the traditional endoscopies, Dr Mokhele offers this service and will advise it in suitable cases.
Why might a capsule endoscopy be needed?
Unlike a traditional endoscopy, which is inserted either through the mouth (to view the upper gastrointestinal tract) or the anus (to view the lower digestive tract), the capsule endoscope can view the entire tract which isn't often easily reached by traditional endoscopies, in a less invasive way. A capsule endoscope may be needed for similar reasons to the traditional variant including:
To find the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding
To diagnose or confirm the diagnosis of various gastrointestinal conditions
To screen for cancer or the presence of polyps
What does capsule endoscopy involve?
Prior to swallowing the capsule, you will be asked to empty your stomach at least 12 hours before. He will also ask that you flush out your small intestine with a laxative so that the quality of the images can be enhanced. You can continue your day as usual. Heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided.
Before you swallow the endoscope, adhesive patches will be attached to your abdomen to record the data from the camera. You will then be given the capsulated micro camera to swallow. You will be given a special belt to wear while the camera moves through the tract. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera will take thousands of pictures of the internal gastrointestinal tract. These images are then transmitted to a recorder that is worn around your waist as a belt.
2 hours after swallowing the capsule, you may resume drinking clear liquids. Dr Mokhele will advise whether or not you may eat a light snack during the day and what would be best. The capsule should be through the digestive tract in 8 hours. The capsule should come out with our bowel movement a few hours later but may take a few days depending on your digestive system. You can then flush the capsule and remove the patches and belt from your body. Your gastroenterologist will then have a look at the images that were taken and be able to diagnose and treat you accurately.
Gastrocure, Eastern Cape
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