Video Capsule Endoscopy

Video Capsule Endoscopy (VCE) is an innovative technology that was first introduced in May 2000 at the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) convention. It was developed by an Israeli medical technology company Given Imaging and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Originally designed for the visualization of the small intestine, today it is majorly used for examination of the esophagus, stomach and colon through technological advances.

What is Video Capsule Endoscopy?

Video Capsule Endoscopy (VCE) is a capsule-shaped diagnostic tool in which a wireless camera is placed. The capsule’s volume is slightly higher than that of a regular capsule (11mm x 27mm). It includes a light source, a lens, a CMOS sensor chip, a battery pack and a wireless transmission module. The capsule is able to run continuously for 6 to 8 hours and capture images of the inner lining of the small intestine. Once swallowed by the patient, the capsule passes through the esophagus, stomach and finally the small intestine. It captures thousands of clear images and saves them on a hard drive worn at the patient’s waist as a belt. These images will later allow the doctor to look for a disease or abnormal condition in the small intestine. In general, the capsule is naturally excreted with the stool within 8 hours of the procedure.

In which case is the Video Capsule Endoscopy used?

Capsule Endoscopes are currently used to observe the small intestine and are suitable for the diagnosis of diseases of the digestive system, such as :

            •   Unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding;
            •   Iron deficiency anemia for unknown reasons;
            •   Suspicion of Crohn’s disease;
            •   Suspicious tumors of the small intestine;
            •   Monitor the evolution of intestinal polyposis syndrome;
            •   Suspected or uncontrollable malabsorption syndrome (eg, celiac disease, etc.).



Video Capsule Endoscopy is safe. The examination process is non-invasive and the most obvious benefit of a Video Capsule Endoscopy is that it is odorless and no anesthesia is needed. There is no difference between taking a medicine and taking the capsule so the patient can continue doing his daily activities.


Although the capsule endoscope may allow observation of the small intestine as a whole, it is impossible to observe the disease several times and it is impossible to perform a biopsy or treatment. The trajectory of the capsule cannot also be controlled because visual blind spots may occur resulting in forgetting the diagnosis. The capsule presents a risk of blockage in the intestine, but this situation is rare. The capsule and its components are disposable, which explains its high cost.

A propos de Mariatou HABOU-BAKAR

Etudiante en Master 2 Commerce Électronique

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