Wireless capsule endoscopy

This is a new and exciting technique to look at the area between the beginning of the jejunum, small bowel and the beginning of the terminal ileum which is the majority of the small bowel and accounts for anywhere between 1 and 3 metres depending on the age of the child. It is a small capsule, approximately 23mm by 11mm which is swallowed and then transmits images via radio frequency, which is perfectly safe, to a harness which is worn for a period of 8 hours. It is useful for looking for inflammation in the mid-small bowel or for any polyps that have not been seen before or for any areas of bleeding which may be occurring causing anaemia or blood loss from the gut. We have pioneered the paediatric use of this technique at the Portland Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital and it has proven extremely useful in diagnosis.

The capsules are disposable and are simply passed normally with faeces and are not usually retrieved. This may indeed be the future for diagnostic purposes although biopsies as yet cannot be taken with this technique.

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