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Endoscopy in a pill; A camera the size of a pill is now being used to take pictures of the inside of a patient.

A tiny wireless camera sits inside a vitamin-sized capsule that is swallowed. As the capsule travels through your system, it takes thousands of pictures, transmitted to a recorder you wear on a belt around the waist. This is known as a Capsule Endoscopy.

Dr Mel Gunn, Consultant Gastroenterologist specialising in iron deficiency and anaemia (lack of red blood cells) explains: "The small bowel or intestine is the longest part of the digestive system. At about twenty feet long this is roughly the same size as two famliy cars!

"It connects your stomach to your large intestine (or colon) and folds many times to fit inside your abdomen. Your small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods you eat and is where nutrients are absorbed into your body. When problems occur in this part of your digestive system, it can have a major impact on your health.

"They could also be a sign of serious health problems such as intestinal bleeding leading to anaemia and iron deficiency, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's Disease, Coeliac's Disease, tumours or polyps.

"Because the small intestine is a difficult area to reach with conventional Endoscopy, we sometimes use the Capsule Endoscopy. It's quick, easy and gives us a great view of your insides. About 130 patients have one every year."

Did you know Newcastle is the Region's Centre of Excellence for conditions affecting the small bowel.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2014
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