What to expect
To provide better images of your colon, your doctor may have you follow a clear liquid diet the day before your PillCam COLON procedure and take laxatives the night before and morning of the procedure. This is similar to the preparation for colonoscopy but the PillCam COLON procedure may require up to 3 cups more of bowel prep solution during the day of the procedure. Be sure to follow your doctor’s specific instructions so that the camera can capture the best quality images.
Day of the procedure
First, the nurse or doctor will place sensors in a belt around or directly on your abdomen that allow the video capsule to wirelessly transmit the images of your colon. You’ll also wear a small data recorder attached to a belt that will also go around your waist.
Then, you’ll swallow the vitamin-sized video capsule with a glass of water. Shortly after, you will drink about 2 cups of the additional bowel prep solution and, at this point, you’ll be able to leave the doctor’s office for the remainder of the day. There’s no need for sedation or supervision. During this time, you are free to go about your daily routine as the capsule naturally moves through your digestive system.
The procedure could last up to 10 hours. Next, you’ll return to the office to drop off the data recorder and sensor belt (or have the external sensors removed).
After the procedure
Because there is no sedation, your recovery will be immediate. The disposable PillCam capsule will pass naturally with a bowel movement, usually within 24 hours and without any discomfort. The capsule is disposable and does not need to be retrieved to collect the images from the procedure.
After your PillCam COLON procedure, a colonoscopy may be recommended to remove and treat any findings such as polyps. For the majority of patients, it is unlikely there will be findings requiring a follow-up colonoscopy. A second round of bowel preparation would be necessary if a follow-up colonoscopy is recommended by your physician.
How you’ll feel
The video capsule has a smooth texture similar to over-the-counter capsules for pain relief. You should not feel any pain or discomfort when swallowing it, while it moves through your colon, or as it is naturally eliminated during a bowel movement.
While the capsule is transmitting images, you'll be able to follow a normal routine.
See videos explaining the steps of the PillCam COLON procedure
See an example of the video that is created from PillCam COLON for your physician to review
Like virtually all medical procedures, the PillCam COLON procedure also has some risks and disadvantages such as retention of the capsule and the need to have a follow-up colonoscopy if there are findings from the PillCam COLON procedure. You can view all of these disadvantages and risks here. Please discuss these risks with your doctor, who can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.