The FDA has approved the PillCam for use as an alternative for patients who are unable to have a complete colonoscopy. The pill-shaped capsule has a camera on both ends. It navigates through your intestines over an eight-hour period, taking high-speed images that are sent to a device worn by a patient that are later examined by a doctor. (Video)
PillCam is a product of Israeli company Given Imaging. In the United States, approximately 750,000 colonoscopies are incomplete every year, according to the company. “Incomplete” means that doctors weren’t able to see everything that they needed to for a number of reasons, including a history of abdominal surgery or advanced diverticular disease, which affects the colon, among others.
“I think that there’s going to be a real demand for this and although they’re occasional cases, we look at this as a very good way to evaluate portions of the colon that we haven’t seen,” Douglas Rex, a doctor at Indiana University said in a video.
The device isn’t meant to be used in place of a colonoscopy, but rather in tandem with the procedure, especially because its images aren’t as high-quality. An advantage, however, is cost: The camera’s price tag is about $500, as compared to a traditional colonoscopy, which can cost thousands of dollars.
PillCam has also been approved for use in 80 other countries, in addition to the U.S.
Photo credit: Mobihealthnews