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Pillcam COLON 2

Detailed information on exams

Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following colon exams to assess the health and condition of your colon. Roll over each test name for a short description, then click to compare any of these with PillCam COLON, a minimally invasive alternative.

It’s good to be informed about these procedures and possible alternatives. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have questions. You can also ask a healthcare practitioner about PillCam COLON on this website.

The information presented is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of PillCam COLON or other procedures with your doctor. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for any procedure.

   
   

PillCam COLON vs Colonoscopy

Polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy—but because it is an invasive procedure with risk of bowel perforation, colonoscopy maybe unsuitable for people with certain conditions or medication needs. PillCam COLON is a minimally invasive alternative with comparable accuracy—and it does not require sedation, further minimizing risks and enabling immediate recovery.

Both colonoscopy and PillCam COLON procedures require bowel preparation, but the PillCam COLON procedure may require up to 3 cups more of bowel preparation solution than colonoscopy requires. Colonoscopy may later be recommended to remove and treat the findings from a PillCam COLON procedure. For the majority of patients, there is unlikely to be findings requiring a follow-up colonoscopy, but a second round of bowel preparation would be necessary if a follow-up colonoscopy is recommended by your physician.

PillCam COLON vs Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Flex sig only examines the lower one-third of the colon, and requires air to be pumped into the colon, which can cause discomfort. PillCam COLON provides a view of the entire colon, without discomfort and with greater convenience. Flex sig typically requires only enemas to clean the lower colon unlike the full bowel prep required for PillCam COLON.

PillCam COLON vs CT (“virtual”) colonography

CT colonography uses x-rays—an indirect form of visualization that results in radiation exposure. It is also an invasive procedure with risk of bowel perforation. PillCam COLON does not use x-rays, is minimally invasive, and provides direct visualization of the colon, enhancing its ability to detect smaller polyps. Both CT colonography and PillCam COLON procedures require bowel preparation, but the PillCam COLON procedure may require up to 3 cups more of bowel preparation solution than CT colonography requires.

PillCam COLON vs DCBE

Double-contrast barium enema is an invasive procedure that uses x-rays—an indirect form of visualization that results in radiation exposure. PillCam COLON is minimally invasive, so it minimizes the risk of bowel perforation—and it provides direct visualization of the colon, enhancing the doctor’s ability to detect smaller polyps. Both double-contrast barium enema and PillCam COLON procedures require bowel preparation, but the PillCam COLON procedure may require up to 3 cups more of bowel preparation solution than double-contrast barium enema requires.

PillCam COLON vs Stool Tests

Stool tests—such as Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), and sDNA—have not consistently demonstrated high accuracy* of the detection of colon polyps or pre-cancer. PillCam COLON provides direct visualization of the colon, enhancing the doctor’s ability to detect polyps or pre-cancer. Stool tests do not require bowel preparation unlike PillCam COLON.

PillCam COLON vs Blood Test

Blood tests for the screening of colorectal cancer are in the early stages of development and cannot, by themselves, be used to diagnose colon polyps or colorectal cancer. PillCam COLON provides direct visualization of the colon, enhancing the doctor’s ability to detect polyps of all sizes and types.

When you have risks or concerns

For the majority of patients, doctors recommend a colonoscopy, but invasive colon exams such as colonoscopy can be risky for some patients. These patients include those on blood-thinning medications, as well as those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or obstructive sleep apnea. About half of these patients with increased risk receive examinations other than colonoscopy today.

PillCam COLON is complementary to colonoscopy and is a highly accurate* minimally invasive alternative to other colon exams that avoids potential risks for these patients. It also may be preferable for those who feel anxious, afraid, or embarrassed by other colon exams, or who have had problems such as incomplete exams in the past.

Like virtually all medical procedures, the PillCam COLON procedure also has some risks, which you can view here. Please discuss these risks with your doctor, who can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.

To see if PillCam COLON might be right for you, take our quiz. Then talk with your doctor.

Minimize risk, maximize accuracy

If you want to minimize risks while maximizing accuracy, consider exams that are minimally invasive, are more likely to detect large polyps, and use direct visualization of the colon.

Minimally invasive Highly accurate* Direct visualization
PillCam COLON
Colonoscopy
CT “virtual” colonography
Double-contrast barium enema
Flexible sigmoidoscopy
Stool tests

Things you may want to avoid

Depending on your situation, you may want to avoid exams that require sedation, have increased risk of bowel perforation, use x-rays that increase your exposure to radiation, or colon cleansing with bowel preparation.

Sedation routinely used Risk of bowel perforation Radiation exposure Bowel preparation
PillCam COLON
Colonoscopy
CT “virtual” colonography
Double-contrast barium enema
Flexible sigmoidoscopy
Stool tests

PillCam COLON (Click for details)

  • Images are captured and transmitted wirelessly by a tiny camera in a disposable vitamin-sized capsule as it naturally passes through your digestive tract
  • Offers the only minimally invasive approach to direct visualization of the colon
  • Provides the optimal balance of minimal risk in a highly accurate minimally invasive test
  • Does not require sedation, can be administered in a doctor’s office, and recovery is immediate
  • More convenient and less risky than invasive procedures like colonoscopy
  • May require up to 3 more cups more of bowel preparation solution than colonoscopy requires
  • Cannot remove polyps or treat any other conditions detected

Colonoscopy (Click for details)

  • A scope with a video camera on its end is inserted through the rectum into the colon—it is connected to a monitor where the video from the test is displayed
  • High accuracy*
  • Provides direct visualization
  • Combines the ability to diagnose and remove polyps in a single procedure
  • Could present a higher risk for some patients
  • Air pumped into colon can result in bloating and cramping after the procedure
  • Sedation routinely used – an in convenience for some patients and a risk for others

Computed Tomography (CT) colonography (Click for details)

  • A CT scanner uses x-rays to produce cross-sectional images after the colon has had air pumped into it via a tube inserted through the rectum
  • Invasive procedure with risk of bowel perforation
  • May miss small polyps
  • Requires exposure to x-rays
  • Air pumped into colon can result in bloating and cramping after the procedure
  • Cannot remove polyps or treat any other conditions detected

Double-contrast barium enema (Click for details)

  • Barium sulfate and air are pumped into the colon via a tube inserted through the rectum and used to look for abnormal areas on x-rays—if suspicious areas are seen, further testing using another procedure (such as colonoscopy) will be needed
  • Invasive procedure with risk of bowel perforation
  • Lower accuracy of polyp detection—several times more likely to miss colorectal cancer than colonoscopy
  • Requires exposure to x-rays
  • Air pumped into colon can result in bloating and cramping after the procedure
  • Cannot remove polyps or treat any other conditions detected

Flexible sigmoidoscopy (Click for details)

  • A flexible, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger with a small video camera on the end is inserted through the rectum and into the lower part of the colon—images from the scope are viewed on a display monitor
  • Examines only one-third of the colon
  • Combines the ability to diagnose and remove polyps in a single procedure
  • Can be uncomfortable with no sedation provided
  • Risk of bowel perforation

Stool test (Click for details)

  • Detects blood or abnormal genetic material in a provided stool sample, which indicates bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract
  • May not detect tumors that are not bleeding
  • May not effectively screen for colorectal cancer on the right side
  • Cannot remove polyps or treat any other conditions detected
  • Never use in-office stool tests or digital rectal exams as these test could miss up to 95% of cancers and polyps according to the American Cancer Society.