Don’t Like Endoscopies? Swallow a Camera Instead!

A new self-care device from Medtronic lets patients easily check for bowel cancer from home.

If you’ve ever experienced an endoscopy, you know it’s essentially the definition of an invasive procedure. A recent article from The Guardian reported on a new medical device that allows patients to easily check for bowel cancer at home by swallowing a pill loaded with a miniature camera. The colon capsule is called PillCam, and it captures images at a frame rate of 2-6 frames per second based on the speed of the capsule as it travels through the small bowel.

Patients visit a nurse who fits their waist with a belt and receiver that takes pictures. They then go home and clear their bowels with the help of a laxative so that the cameras can get clear images. The entire process takes 5-8 hours, and the photos are sent wireless from the capsule to a cancer specialist for analysis. The capsule is then excreted when the patient uses the restroom.

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