This little pill camera could mean the end of colonoscopy

A tiny camera that fits in a pill-sized capsule has revolutionized cancer prevention in Scotland. More than two thousand patients have now used the PillCam instead of the more traditional invasive method of colonoscopy. The PillCam has reduced colorectal cancer screening wait times and enabled faster diagnoses, a key factor in the fight against the disease.

The procedure itself is technically referred to as colon capsule endoscopy (CCE). The tiny camera is swallowed like a pill and then travels through the digestive system, capturing 50,000 images as it goes. The images from the camera are stored in a recorder that is worn on a belt around the patient’s waist.

The traditional method of checking for bowel problems is an invasive procedure that requires the patient to be sedated. Anyone who’s had a colonoscopy will tell you it’s not particularly comfortable. However, the PillCam can be administered in the hospital and the patient can return home during the process and eventually excrete the camera after it has passed through the digestive tract.

Patients have reported that the procedure is completely painless and not uncomfortable, although they have to go through the same preparatory work that a conventional colonoscopy requires. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant drop in screening procedures, so cutting-edge technology like this has a positive impact on patients being screened and treated as quickly as possible.

The camera can take between two and six frames per second and although the device has been used primarily for colon cancer screening in Scotland, the device can also be used to monitor Crohn’s disease, anemia and intestinal bleeding.

I’m not sure about you, but I think I prefer the idea of ​​swallowing a tiny camera than having one the other way!

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