Diagnostics

Capsule endoscopy

Our dedicated video capsule endoscopy team provides a first-class service to diagnose conditions of the small bowel, with as little disruption to our patients’ lives as possible.

 

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What is it for?

To diagnose conditions of the small bowel

Overview

A video capsule endoscopy (VCE) involves you swallowing a capsule around the same size of a vitamin pill.

Inside the capsule is a tiny, wireless camera that’s used to take thousands of images of your digestive tract, which runs from your mouth to your anus.

The images captured by the camera are used to diagnose conditions of the small bowel (small intestine), such as Crohn’s disease.

The benefits of a video capsule endoscopy compared to a traditional small bowel endoscopy (also known as a small bowel enteroscopy) are that it takes less time, causes little discomfort and has fewer side effects.

This is because a traditional small bowel endoscopy involves a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end of it being passed through your mouth or anus into your small bowel.

At The London Clinic, we offer our capsule endoscopy service in our calm and comfortable Endoscopy Unit. Our patients have given the unit a satisfaction rating of over 98%.

World-leading gastroenterologists and capsule nurse specialists will oversee your procedure and provide you with exceptional personalised care throughout your time with us.

We’re also the only independent private healthcare provider which offers a capsule endoscopy service on Saturdays as well as weekdays, making life easier for you.

Contact us today to find out more about our capsule endoscopy service and start your five-start experience with The London Clinic.

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Why might I need a capsule endoscopy?

Your consultant may recommend a capsule endoscopy after a CT or MRI scan, or a barium test. They may have seen something, like polyps, that they want to take a closer look at.

A capsule endoscopy is also used to find out why you might be experiencing:

  • Weight loss
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Bleeding from the bowels

Why choose The London Clinic

Excellence in one place

We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.

Personal care, every time

Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.

Effortlessly simple

We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.

What's included in your package?

Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.

 

Your treatment package will include:

  • Enhanced pre-admission assessment
  • Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
  • Personalised aftercare and follow-up

We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.

How to pay

  • You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
  • You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
  • If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis
     

FAQs

Your capsule nurse specialist will give you an easy-to-swallow capsule with some water.

After swallowing the capsule, you should not feel it inside you and it shouldn’t cause you any discomfort.

The capsule usually stays inside your body for around eight hours.

During this time, the camera inside the video capsule endoscopy sends around 150,000 digital images of your digestive tract to a recording device strapped around your waist.

After you’ve swallowed the capsule and the recorder has been attached, you’re free to go home and get on with your day.

However, you should take it easy and avoid activities which need a lot of effort, such as heavy lifting.

After around eight hours, the capsule should have passed through your bowel and left your body inside your poo. You can then safely flush the capsule away down the toilet.

To get ready for your capsule endoscopy, your consultant will usually ask you not to eat and drink on the day of your procedure.

This helps to make sure that the camera in the capsule gets clear views of your small bowel.

However, your care team will discuss this with you and give you detailed guidance on what you can eat and drink before your procedure.

You may also be asked to take a medicine to help you empty your bowels, such as a laxative. This is also done to help the camera take better images.

If you normally take medication or supplements, your care team will also discuss with you when you should stop taking these.

It takes little to no time to recover from a capsule endoscopy. After you’ve passed out the capsule endoscopy, you should feel fine and be able to continue with all your normal activities.

A video capsule endoscopy is regarded as very safe.

Your consultant and experienced care team will work closely together to reduce any risk and support your safe recovery.

In less than 1 in 100 cases a capsule becomes stuck in the gut. It’s usually brought back by an endoscope with a tiny grabber on it. Very rarely surgery may be needed.

If your consultant is worried this may happen, they may suggest you have a test to make sure the capsule will pass through your bowel.

This will involve you swallowing a capsule that dissolves in your body, before you have the real video capsule endoscopy.

If you have a pacemaker, your consultant is likely to ask you to stay at The London Clinic while the capsule is inside you.

Your consultant may decide it’s not safe for you to have a capsule endoscopy, or ask you to have further tests before your procedure, if:

  • You have a blockage or tear in your stomach or intestines
  • You have a swallowing disorder and need the capsule placed directly into your stomach using an endoscope
  • You’re pregnant
  • You have sections in your digestive tract that may be too narrow for the capsule to pass through

The images from your recording device are downloaded and studied closely by your consultant. This usually takes a few weeks.

Your consultant will arrange an appointment to explain your results and diagnosis, discuss your treatment options and chat through any worries you have.

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