What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During capsule endoscopy

Some capsule endoscopy devices require adhesive patches that are attached to your abdomen. Each patch contains an antenna with wires that connect to a recorder. The recorder collects and stores the pictures taken by the camera as it passes through your digestive tract. You wear the recorder on a special belt around your waist or in a bag over your shoulder.

Once the recorder is connected, you will be asked to swallow the camera capsule. It's about the size of a large vitamin pill. A slippery coating makes the capsule easier to swallow.

After the capsule endoscopy

You can generally go about your normal activities while the camera pill passes through your digestive tract. You may be asked to avoid repetitive movements that could disrupt the recorder.

Capsule endoscopy can be done with a camera that takes pictures for eight hours or 12 hours. Your doctor will tell you which type of capsule endoscopy you are having, and when you can resume eating and drinking.

The procedure is complete after eight or 12 hours or when you see the camera capsule in the toilet after a bowel movement. Remove the antenna patches and the recorder. Pack them in a bag and follow your doctor's instructions for returning the equipment.

You don't need to collect the camera capsule — it can be safely flushed down the toilet.

Your body may expel the camera capsule within hours, or it may be expelled after several days. Each person's digestive system is different. If you don't see the capsule in the toilet within two weeks, contact your doctor. An X-ray may be done to see if the capsule is still in your body.

Sept. 27, 2012