The video pill, which was approved for use in the United States in August 2001, is the newest alternative to the standard colonoscopy and has the advantage of being able to take pictures of the entire intestine; a colonoscopy can only see part of the bowel.
About 3,000 patients worldwide have used the video pill. The procedure can be expensiveâ€”about $2,000â€”unless it’s done free of charge in the course of a research study. Insurance typically does not cover the cost.
“We’re now able to find things using the capsule video endoscope that were not found before and therefore can institute appropriate treatment,” said Buchman, a gastroenterologist at Northwestern University.
Not every patient is a candidate, however. The Food and Drug Administration said the device should not be used in patients who have cardiac pacemakers or other electromagnetic devices, or those who have intestinal blockages, especially small intestines, or abnormal connections between the intestine and another body part.
In a related story, the Senate has ordered several of the video pills for use in the Enron hearings to prove once and for all that Enron executives are “full of shit”.