Capsule Endoscopy

What is Capsule Endoscopy?

Capsule Endoscopy consists of swallowing a small video camera about the size of a large vitamin capsule.  It records 2 pictures every second and moves down the intestines like food normally would.  Up to 50,000 pictures are taken and later viewed by your doctor to evaluate the inside of your intestines.

What preparation is needed?

At noon the day before the procedure, please begin having a clear liquid diet only.  After midnight, have nothing to eat or drink until after your appointment.  Continue taking your prescription medications, except as outlined below.

Things to avoid

  • For 7 days prior to the procedure, YOU MUST STOP TAKING: Antacids, sucralfate and iron
  • For 3 days prior to the procedure, we strongly recommend that you stop taking narcotic medications such as codeine, Percocet, morphine, etc.

If you are taking narcotic medications, please call 717-531-5863 to speak to a nurse.

Please continue to take:  Coumadin, Plavix, other blood thinners

Day Of Appointment: 

  • No vigorous physical activities, like jumping
  • No exposure to magnetic fields (MRI testing and amateur HAM radios)


After registration at the front desk of the Endoscopy unit, you'll be taken to the procedure room.  A nurse will obtain necessary information from you and you will be asked to sign a consent form.  You will be fitted with a belt pack and monitoring equipment.  You will swallow the capsule with sips of water.  The whole process will take approximately 30 minutes.

When study is complete

You must wear the system for 8 hours.  After that, you will return to the Endoscopy unit for removal of the belt and equipment.

What happens to the capsule?

The capsule is disposable and passes out with your bowel movements.  You do not need to retrieve the capsule.

Possible risks

There is a possibility of the capsule getting stuck in an unexpected stricture, or large diverticulli.  Though very rare, this may require surgical intervention.


To speak to a nurse, you may call 717-531-5863 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  If you are calling after hours, and your appointment is the next business day, you may call the main operator at 717-531-8521 and ask for the GI Fellow on call.