Capsule endoscopy - a new pain free investigation of the bowel

Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Fordcombe, Kent offers an innovative, pain-free investigation called Capsule Endoscopy.

A pill size camera to investigate internal problems

This uses an electronic, pill-sized photographic capsule that takes pictures of the small bowel (a section of the digestive tract) which cannot normally be viewed or examined without surgery.

How does it work?

The capsule is swallowed like a tablet and can take up to 54,000 pictures over eight hours, mapping the small bowel. During this process you will be able to move around, walk or even leave the hospital! After roughly eight hours a consultant gastroenterologist will download the results, review and discuss his / her findings with you. You then pass the capsule in the usual way. 

Who is it for?

If you are often excessively tired you could be suffering from anaemia (low red blood cell count). A common cause of anaemia is bleeding within the gut. This maybe from the stomach, large bowel or small bowel. The bleeding may not always be obvious or visible so tests may need to be carried out to identify the cause. Once the cause is identified, corrective treatment of anaemia is generally successful

The capsule can help to identify the cause of anaemia, diagnose bowel conditions, or identify or exclude conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Pain, diarrhoea or constipation can be symptoms of underlying intestinal problems. Diseases, such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, can cause inflammation (or even ulceration) in your bowel. More serious diseases may also need to be ruled out – especially if you have visible bleeding from the back passage, which should never be ignored.

Clinical Guidance

Dr Laurence Maiden BSc (Hons), MB BS, MD, MRCP, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital comments: “This diagnostic facility is particularly beneficial to patients who display obscure bleeding that persists or recurs, as well as for detection of Crohn’s and Coeliac disease. It is a revolutionary pain-free device which enables us to see far more of the small intestine than ever more. Patients benefit as they no longer need to endure the discomfort of an endoscope, and we are able to offer a swift treatment programme.”

Director of Clinical Services for Spire Healthcare, Dr Jean-Jacques De Gorter, comments: “Early detection can help save lives. This accurate and rapid tool for diagnosis will help patients to get the best possible treatment at Spire Healthcare. We are continuing to invest in the latest technological advances in order to strengthen deliver better healthcare outcomes for our patients.”

How to book

This procedure is available to patients who are privately insured or for patients wishing to pay for their own treatment via a one-off private treatment package price.

For more information on Capsule Endoscopy please call the customer service team at Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital on 01892 741 150 or email

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