Crohn's Disease Forum » Tests for IBD » Pill Cam questions

04-25-2013, 08:10 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Utah
Pill Cam questions

Can anyone tell me how the pill cam works? Do you have to retrieve the camera after it has gone through? How are pictures retrieved? Can it substitute for a small bowel barium study? In my 16 years of CD, my doc has never suggested we try this. I have a colonoscopy on Monday and am wondering if I should ask him about doing it right after, since I'll be all cleaned out. My disease is mainly isolated to the terminal ileum, where I had approximately 12 inches removed in 1999. During scopes, the doc. has always had an extremely difficult time visualizing my hookup site because of how they reattached and because of inflammation. And that means he always wants a barium study and I can't stand the barium! I would love any info. anyone can share!
Diagnosed with Crohn's in 1997
Small bowel resection & anastomosis in 1999
Years of remission
Small bowel resection & anastomosis in 2015
Meds: Humira
04-25-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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Cat-a-Tonic's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin

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You do not have to retrieve the capsule afterwards. Some people do to keep it as a souvenir, but that's totally optional so you don't have to sift through your poos if you don't want to.

When you have the pill cam done, you swallow the capsule and also wear this belt contraption - the belt is basically a wireless hard drive. The capsule transmits the photos to the belt. When you're done, you return the belt to the doctor/hospital, and they upload everything from the belt into the computer so that they can view all the images. Sometimes the results take awhile because the pill cam is capable of taking tens of thousands of images, and your doctor will need to look at each one.

It's a completely different test than the barium study. Before having the pill cam done, you probably should have something like either small bowel follow-through or the dummy/patency capsule done, to make sure that the pill cam itself won't get stuck. If you have any strictures or narrowing then the pill cam isn't the best idea.
04-25-2013, 10:10 AM   #3
Cross-stitch gal
Cross-stitch gal's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Vancouver, Washington

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I did it this time last year. The prep is a lot like the colonoscopy. You're right, you do have to get cleaned out for it. As Cat said, I swallowed a dummy pill first to make sure that the camera didn't get stuck. Then, once they found out that I'd be alright then they had me swallow the actual one.

I wore the belt for a few hours, and returned it later in the day. It was a bit of a challenge. But, we were able to do things while I was wearing the contraption. That was the day we got our baby chicks and I think that I may have even been able to take a small nap with it on.
Ulcerative Colitis/IBD 1996, Iritis 2001, Ulcerative Proctitis 2013, Indeterminate Colitis 2016, Remission 2017, Hand Eczema

Current Meds:
Pentasa 1000mg 2xday or Mesalamine DR 1.2gm 2xday, Canasa Suppositories (when needed) 1000mg 1xday, Tylenol 3 with codeine 300-30mg (when needed)

600+D Calcium 2xday, Multivitamin, 65mg Iron 1xday, Fish Oil 1000mg, Vitamin D3 5,000 I.U., Eye Drops 2xday

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