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Peninsula Gastroenterology Medical Group, Gastroenterologists
Redwood City: 2900 Whipple Ave | Suite 245 |Redwood City, CA 94062 • Phone: 650-365-3700
Mountain View: 2495 Hospital Drive | Suite 600 | Mountain View, CA 94040 • Phone: 650-964-3636

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Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

Patient Procedure Instructions

About the Test

Your physician has recommended that you should undergo an examination known as small bowel capsule endoscopy. This procedure involves ingesting a small (the size of a large vitamin pill) capsule which will pass naturally through your digestive system while taking pictures of the intestine. The images are transmitted to a data recorder, which is a walkman sized receiver which saves the images. You will be wearing a large belt around your waist and suspenders over your shoulders. After 8 hours you return to the Center and have the data recorder removed. The images will then be downloaded to a computer so that your physician can examine them. The capsule is disposable and will be excreted naturally with your bowel movement.

Preparation for the Procedure

Two Days Prior to Your Procedure

One of our nurses will be contacting you two days prior to your test to obtain your medical history and review your preparation instructions. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have at that time. Please make sure you tell the nurse if you have any of the following:

  • Allergies to any medications or latex products
  • Pacemaker, implantable defibrillator or neurostimulator

The nurse will ask you about the medications you take. Please let her/him know if you are taking, or have recently taken, any of the following medications:

  • Blood thinning medications
  • Anti-arthritis medications
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Iron
  • Diabetes medications such as Insulin or oral diabetes medications
  • Herbal remedies

If you are taking medications for your heart, lungs or blood pressure the nurse will let you know if you should take them in the morning with sips of water.

One Day Before Your Test

After 3:00 p.m., do not eat any solid foods. You may drink only clear liquids after 3:00 p.m. Clear liquids consist of: black coffee or tea, beef/chicken broth, apple juice, white grape or white cranberry juice, Gatorade, popsicles and jell-o. Please do not have any red or purple flavors.

At approximately 3:00 p.m. drink ½ bottle (5oz) of Citrate of Magnesia.

The Day of Your Test

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not take your morning medications unless instructed by your doctor.

Your Appointment

Please arrive at our center 15 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time unless otherwise instructed. Expect to be at the Center for 30 minutes. When you arrive our receptionist will review your insurance and contact information with you. Please let her know of any changes.

Bring the following items with you:

  • Your insurance cards.
  • A list of all medications you are taking (or bring the bottles with you).

Please do not apply any lotions or creams to your abdomen. Male patients should shave their abdomen from nipples to hip bones; this helps the adhesive sensors adhere to the skin. Please wear loose, comfortable two piece clothing. A top that has buttons in the front is ideal.

The nurse will bring you back to the admission area to get you ready for your test.

  • She/he will review your medical history if this has not already been done.
  • You will be signing a consent to have a Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy.

The nurse will apply 8 adhesive sensors to your abdomen and attach them to the data recorder that you will be wearing for the next 8 hours. You will swallow the capsule with a full glass of water. You may now leave and go about you usual daily activities.

Patient Instructions During Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy:

Please call our office or your physician’s office directly if you experience any of the following symptoms: persistent chest pain or abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever or difficulty swallowing. We ask that you stay in the area (on the Peninsula) for the 8 hours the test is being performed.

  • You may begin drinking clear liquids 2 hours after swallowing the capsule.You may eat a light meal 4 hours after swallowing the capsule.You may also take your medications at this time.
  • Do not exercise and avoid heavy lifting. You may walk, sit or lie down. You may drive a car. It is fine to return to work if your work allows you to adhere to the above restrictions. Keep in mind that you will be wearing a fairly large belt and suspenders.
  • Avoid going near MRI machines and radio transmitters. It is fine to use a cell phone, computer or radio. Do not stand next to another patient that is undergoing a capsule endoscopy.
  • Do not get the sensor leads wet. Try not to touch the recorder or leads, and do not remove any of the leads.
  • You may loosen the belt to use the restroom, but keep the suspenders on so that the recorder does not fall.
  • Observe the LED light on the data recorder at least every 15 minutes. If the light stops blinking, call our office immediately; you will most likely have to return to our office.
  • Return to the Atherton Endoscopy Center at the specified time (8 hours later) to have the unit removed; this should take no more than 10 minutes.


Related Links

Atherton Endoscopy Center photo

Atherton Endoscopy Center

While you are a patient at Atherton Endoscopy Center, our highly competent and professional staff will care for you. Everyone from the receptionist to the physician embraces our philosophy of patient-focused care. Above all, our staff is friendly and concerned for your comfort.