Small Bowel Wireless Capsule


Small Bowel Wireless Capsule

We offer a full range of diagnostic procedures, as well as medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options to meet the individual needs of patients with gastroenterological conditions of any kind.  We are excited and proud to add to that list one of the latest and most advanced tools, the capsule endoscopy.

Small Bowel Wireless Capsule is a minimally invasive procedure for evaluation of the small intestine. There are many names for it: Wireless Capsule Endoscopy (WCE), Video Capsule Endoscopy (VCE), small bowel endoscopy, capsule enteroscopy. It is a very simple and logical process. The patient swallows a vitamin size capsule which carries a camera inside. When capsule passes through the gastrointestinal system, it takes picture after picture (about 60,000 high-quality, color pictures). The capsule can detect lesions less than 0.1mm. These pictures will be transferred to a receiver that is worn on a belt around the waist. The camera usually works for 8-12 hours. The pictures have excellent resolution especially if you follow the preparation and procedure rules. Later all the pictures will be downloaded to your doctor’s computer for analysis.  The capsule will be passed with a bowel movement within a few days. The camera can be flushed so there is no need to fish for it. If you expel the camera in less than 8 hours or do not see it at all after two weeks, please call the doctor’s office.

The human digestive system is a long tube, from mouth to anus. There are two procedures that help the doctor to see this long tube, endoscopy and colonoscopy. An endoscopy covers the mouth to the small intestine while a colonoscopy covers the large intestine. There is a part of small intestine that cannot be seen by these two techniques. WCE is perfect method to visualize this area not seen by colonoscopy and endoscopy.

Here are several indications you may need to have WCE:

  • Occult gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
  • Cancer, tumors and polyps located in the small intestine
  • Celiac disease
  • There are more indications for WCE: chronic abdominal pain, anemia without any finding after endoscopy and colonoscopy and unexplained weight loss.

The procedure is very simple and does not require any anesthesia or sedation. No radiation is involved. It is done while you are going through your daily activity. Patients have to be on a liquid diet 24 hours prior to the test. To ensure that the camera gets the best pictures, patients may have nothing by mouth the morning of the procedure. Do not eat anything for 4 hours after swallowing the capsule. Patient may have liquids after the first 4 hours. Review your medications with your physician prior to having the procedure. Most of the time you are allowed to take insulin and blood pressure pills. Avoid heavy exercise and high level activities for the duration of the WCE test (8 hours). Avoid MRI machines or any high magnetic field devices.

The patient is to come in fasting on the day of the procedure. The receiver will be connected to the waist by a belt. The capsule is the size of a vitamin and will be swallowed with a glass of water. Patient can resume their daily routine and come back in 8 hours to deliver the receiver. During the first 4-6 hours no eating is allowed, but patients may have liquids. The doctor should have results and review with patient in 2 weeks.

If vomiting, severe abdominal pain or passing the capsule in less than 8 hours occurs then contact the doctor.

Like other procedures, CWE has complications that are very rare. The most important one is retention of the capsule. If that were to occur, a radiographic picture would be taken to determine if it is still lodged.

This procedure is safe for everyone including pregnant women and children who are able to swallow the pill. WCE cannot be done for people with swallowing disorders, small bowel obstruction or stenosis.

Our center utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to your healthcare, which means that patients benefit from the combined expertise of physicians who have the knowledge, perspective and experience to address all aspects of your complete gastroenterological care.

If you have questions or concerns regarding gastroenterological conditions of any kind, or if you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that have not yet been addressed by our physicians, Contact Us to make an appointment or discuss your symptoms.


Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills
8631 W. 3rd Street, Suite 815E
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 310-858-2224
Fax: 310-858-2225

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