Local hospital uses pill-sized cameras to investigate bowel abnormalities

Posted on in Services

Pill-sized cameras are now being used at The James Cook University Hospital to investigate and diagnose bowel abnormalities.

One of the PillCams being offered to suitable patients at The James Cook University Hospital

Previously, patients would need to undergo a colonoscopy procedure at the hospital but now, thanks to state-of-the-art cameras, suitable patients are being given the option to undergo the examination from the comfort of their own home.

The PillCam is roughly 3cm long, has a bright light on it and two minuscule cameras on either side of it. It is simply swallowed by the patient during their hospital outpatient appointment before it travels through their body and photographs their bowel, like a virtual telescope at home.

When the patient comes in for their appointment they are given a data belt which they must wear for the rest of the day. The pictures from the PillCam are sent wirelessly to the belt as it passes through their body before it is naturally discarded. The belt is then returned to the Middlesbrough hospital the next morning for the endoscopy team to download and review the footage.

Dr Andrew Douglass, consultant gastroenterologist said: “The ability to offer video capsules at James Cook further expands the diagnostic services we have available to help manage our patients with abdominal symptoms. This none-invasive procedure will help reduce waiting times, increase patient comfort and allow the endoscopy team to prioritise cases.

“I am thrilled that we are now able to offer this alternative endoscopy for our patients.”