Diagnostic Applications
Related Techniques
Future Directions
by Molly Rossow

Wireless Capsule Endoscopy


Wireless capsule endoscopy is less traumatic for the patient and in some ways less demanding on the doctors as well.  It does not require sedation or even close monitoring by the hospital during the procedure like pushy entroscopy or other endoscopic techniques.  Unlike barium series capsule endoscopy does not require the patient to consume medication or to be exposed to radiation.  Administering wireless capsule endoscopy does not take any special training once it has been determined that the patient is a good candidate for this test.  Potentially, wireless capsule endoscopy could be used diagnosis patients in isolated locations far from a hospital.  The images could be sent to a doctor in another location for evaluation. [5]

One of the most important advantages of wireless capsule endoscopy is that it is the only technique to provide images of the inside of the small intestine.  Other endoscopic methods can only reach the large intestine and upper digestive tract.  Barrium series and ultrasound provide information about large anomalies but not actual visual images.   

Currently, capsule endoscope cost approximately $500 and the entire procedure costs about $1,200.  This is $400 more expensive than traditional endoscopy but there is potential for the cost to decrease once the demand for capsule endoscopes increases.