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Does Camera Pill Work?

Does Camera Pill Work?

The camera pill is also known as capsule endoscopy. This article is an attempt to find whether the camera pill is an effective way of diagnosing gastrointestinal problems.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Capsule endoscopy is comparatively a recent invention in the field of medical science, where a capsule can take images inside a person's body. Camera pill, as the name suggests, is a capsule or pill that contains a video camera which is used as a device to diagnose gastrointestinal problems. For this, the patient is asked to swallow the capsule which then, travels through the body and takes the images of the different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. From the time of its introduction, capsule or pill camera endoscopy has been used by doctors to identify problems which they were not able to detect through other types of endoscopy. However, most people do not know much about this pill and have questions about its effectiveness. So, let us take a look at the functions of camera pill, and whether it is an effective way of diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases.
Capsule Endoscopy
Capsule endoscopy or camera pill is one of the best ways of diagnosing diseases affecting the small intestine, including Crohn's disease, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Before the patient swallows this capsule, he is recommended to go on a fast for ten hours. Also, he might be given a laxative to clean the intestinal tract, so that the camera captures clear images of the intestinal tract. The pill which contains the mini camera, also possesses a light bulb, radio transmitter, batteries, etc. A recording device is tied to the patient's waist, where the recorded images are transmitted by the camera pill. This continues for twenty hours and after this, the recorded images are downloaded into the computer. People who have used the capsule pill have reported that they have not experienced any inconvenience due to the pill camera inside the body. Most of them have been able to go through their daily activities during this time. After the diagnosis is done, the patient passes away the capsule within 72 hours.
Does the Pill Work?
According to a survey, over 1.5 million people have benefited by capsule endoscopy. The camera pill is considered effective, as it is confirmed to have high sensitivity and excellent specifications. Hence, the detection of villous atrophy in patients who are suspected of having any diseases in the abdominal cavity, is more precise. Most doctors now rely on the camera pill because of its ability of taking pictures. This pill captures the entire small intestine, which is not possible from the other types of tests. This pill also detects small bowel tumors. Therefore, this test is considered superior than other endoscopic tests.
For performing esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), a flexible tube is inserted into the body through the mouth. It enables the doctor to view the esophagus, stomach and only a small portion of the small intestine. When it comes to colonoscopy, however, a tube is inserted into the rectum. This makes it possible for the physician to view the colon and only the lateral portion of the small intestine. Therefore, these tests are ineffective if the problem lies in the small intestine.
On the other hand, capsule endoscopy or the camera pill enters the middle portion of the gastrointestinal tract and takes high quality, colored pictures of the small intestine. Hence, this technology is said to be effective, as the doctor can get a better view and understanding of celiac related diseases. This ultimately results in better diagnoses of people experiencing symptoms like abdominal pain or bleeding.
Drawbacks
Though camera pills have been widely used by doctors, this diagnostic technique has several disadvantages or drawbacks. During traditional endoscopy, the doctor is actually able to perform some diagnostic operations like biopsy, ultrasound, laser, etc., with a retractable arm, which is not possible with the camera pill. Another drawback of this method is that the camera moves very slowly inside the digestive tract and sometimes, the batteries in it may fail, before it is able to take pictures of the entire digestive tract. Also, the capsule pill is not suitable for all people. Individuals who have experienced internal scarring can experience certain complications, if the capsule gets stuck in the area where the scarring has occurred.
Although the camera pill has some disadvantages, it has been helpful in diagnosing gastrointestinal problems for several years. Moreover, experts are working towards making improvements in the camera pill to diminish or remove the drawbacks completely.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.