Menu Home

Camera pill

There’s a pill you can swallow with a little camera inside. It’s great for identifying gastrointestinal damage, and usually comes out the other end in a day or two. Usually.

Capsule endoscope

Euchiasmus. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Endoscopy is a common part of modern medicine: send a camera down or up the appropriate opening, and see directly inside the human body. It’s pretty cool when you are (for example) looking at someone’s vocal cords in action – see the video below if you’re not squeamish.

Most endoscopes are still attached to somethng outside the body – a lead or cord. That’s fine if you’re looking at the throat or the large intestine,  but what about the small intestine? It’s so, well, small and curvy.

The answer is this: a pill that contains LED lighting, a tiny camera, and a transmitter. You swallow it and it broadcasts pictures of your guts back out to the doctor. Great for identifying gastrointestinal bleeding and the like. So far, so good.

Most people pass their camera pill within a couple of days. But about one and a half percent of the time it stays in there. Still broadcasting, still taking photos, but just hanging out in your intestines like a wee paparazzo.

Most of the time, surgeons will just cut it out right away. But in one case, the camera pill stayed inside someone for four and a half years! It didn’t bother them, apparently. You can read the full write-up in the links below.

Categories: Health & medicine Sciences Technology

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: