PillCam SB System

The PillCam™ SB system – a simple way to evaluate the small bowel
The small intestine (or small bowel) connects the stomach to the large intestine, and aids in digestion and other metabolic processes.  The PillCam™ SB system is an ingestible capsule that lets your doctor visualize your entire small bowel. 

How the Pillcam™ system works
The PillCam™ SB capsule contains a tiny camera and light source that takes pictures of your small intestine as it travels naturally through your digestive tract.

The images are then transmitted to a recorder via sensors placed on your stomach or in a sensor belt that you wear strapped across your body. 

Patient-friendly small bowel visualization
If you or a loved one suffers from gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, Crohn’s disease, or iron deficiency anemia, your doctor may need to see inside your small bowel to evaluate your condition. 

With the PillCam™ SB system, this is done with an ingestible capsule the size of a vitamin.  Here we will explain what happens during the procedure, how to prepare for it, and what to expect afterwards.*

Preparing for your Pillcam™ SB system procedure
Food and drink

An empty stomach is optimal for viewing.  You may be asked to follow a clear liquid diet after lunch the day prior to the procedure.  You may also begin fasting at midnight.  Your doctor wil provide you with specific instructions.

Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you regularly take.  You might need to adjust your usual dose for the procedure.  However, you should speak with your doctor before making any changes to your medications. 

Medical History
Inform your doctor of your medical history, including:

  • A pacemaker or other electro-medical devices
  • Any previous abdominal surgery
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A history of obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract
  • After your procedure

Since there is no need for sedation, once you swallow the PillCam™ SB capsule, you can leave the doctor’s office and go about your normal activities. 

You will also be able to eat four hours after capsule ingestion, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.  Avoid strong electromagnetic fields such as MRI devices or ham radios until you’ve passed the capsule in a bowel movement. 

At the end of the procedure, the recorder and sensors will be removed and returned to your doctor. 

Frequently asked questions

  • How long does the procedure take?
    You will typically spend approximately 30 minutes at your doctor’s office to start the procedure.  Once the sensors or sensor belt are placed on your abdomen, the recorder is connected, and you have swallowed the capsule, you can leave.  The test can last up to 12 hours. 
  • What happens after I return the recorder and sensors to my doctor?
    The images captured during your procedure will be downloaded to a computer and your doctor will view them in a color video.  Afterwards, you will be contacted with the results.
  • Will I feel any pain or discomfort from the capsule?
    No.  You should not feel any discomfort when swallowing the PillCam™ SB capsule or while it moves through your GI tract.  The capsule is disposable and passes naturally with your bowel movement.  However, should you experience pain or other concerning symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. 

Ask your doctor about the PillCam SB system and visit www.medtronic.com/gi to learn more.

Risk Information:  The risks of th ePillCam SB system include capsule retention, aspiration, and skin irritation.  Endoscopic placement may present additional risks.  Medical, endoscopic, or surgical intervention may be necessary to address ay of these complications should they occur.  After ingesting the PillCam SB capsule, and until the capsule is excreted, patients should avoid sources of powerful electromagnetic fields.  These include those created by MRI devices.  Please consult your physician for further information.