Pill Cam or Video Capsule Endoscopy
With this test physicians can see inside a patient’s GI tract with the aid of a disposable camera, the size of a vitamin-sized pill! Over 1.5 million patients have undergone this test, which is performed mainly to visualize approximately 22 feet of the difficult to reach small intestine. It is used primarily for evaluation of disorders of the small bowel, such as Crohn’s disease, obscure bleeding, celiac sprue, and tumors of the small intestine. Patients are given a bowel preparation before the procedure. The following morning, a nurse or technician will explain the procedure. A sensor belt will be placed over our waist and a small portable recording device will be placed on the belt. This device communicates with the camera pill as it passes through the small bowel.You will be asked to swallow the vitamin-sized capsule with a glass of water and you will resume daily activities. You will return that evening with the sensory belt and recorder. The images will be downloaded from the recorder and reviewed. The camera pill passes naturally with bowel movement, usually in 24 to 72 hours.
This test is useful in evaluating the structure of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of your intestine). You will be asked to swallow barium and X-rays will be taken of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The entire test usually takes no more than fifteen minutes to twenty minutes. A mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia should be taken after the test to purge the barium since it can occasionally lead to severe constipation in some individuals.
Small Bowel Series
This test is performed to examine the structure of the small intestine. You will be asked to swallow barium and X-rays will be taken of the barium as it travels through the small intestine. The entire test may take anywhere from a half hour to two hours. Sometime you may be asked to return at a later time to complete the X-ray series. A mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia should be taken after the test to purge the barium since it can occasionally lead to severe constipation in some individuals.
Barium enema (Lower GI Series)
This test is used to evaluate the structure of the colon or large intestine. The test is performed by inserting a small tube into the rectum and a balloon is filled with air so it cannot be easily expelled. Barium is then instilled through the tube and the entire colon is filled. When an “air contrast barium enema” is done, air is also instilled for better definition. The test should take fifteen to twenty minutes and you will experience mild cramping and a moderate urge to have a bowel movement. A mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia should be taken after the test to purge the barium since it can occasionally lead to severe constipation in some individuals.
This is a fairly expensive test that takes multiple x-rays of the abdomen from different angles, then a computer puts them all together to develop a cross-sectional view of different “slices” of the abdomen. Usually you will be asked to drink thin barium before the test and IV contrast (iodine based) will be given. If you are allergic to iodine, several medicines can be taken for three days before the test and a low iodine contrast material will be given IV. You will be moved through a short tunnel-like structure (about three feet long). The test takes between ten to thirty minutes and is painless.
This test is done by passing ultrasound waves through your abdomen. Usually, the gallbladder, liver, pancreas and kidney are examined. No radiation is involved and the test should take no more than ten to twenty minutes. It is painless, but some pressure is felt because the ultrasound probe must be firmly pressed against the abdomen.
Gastric emptying study
This test to performed to evaluate the function of the stomach, specifically to determine the length of time it takes to empty the stomach. For this test, you will be asked to eat a small amount of food that has a minute amount of radioactive material attached to it. By using extremely sensitive scanners, the meal can be seen in the stomach and the time it takes for the stomach to empty can be determined. If the test shows slow emptying, your doctor can give you medicines that can normalize it. The test is painless and takes sixty to ninety minutes to perform. The radioactivity you receive is about the same dose as for a routine chest X-ray and is very safe.