Purpose of review: Small bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) was introduced 13 years ago by Given Imaging (Yokneam, Israel). It has become one of the most important investigational tools of the small bowel. The capsule is swallowed with water after a 12 h fast, propelled via peristalsis through the gastrointestinal tract and excreted naturally. A nonvideo patency capsule was developed to confirm functional patency of the gastrointestinal tract.
Recent findings: Four additional companies have introduced competitive small bowel video capsules, some of which are Food and Drug Admistration (FDA) approved. Due to the easiness of the procedure, SBCE has become a first-line tool to detect small bowel abnormalities. The main indications for SBCE include obscure gastrointestinal bleeding, suspected Crohn's disease, small bowel tumors and practically any abnormal small bowel imaging. New indications are emerging like small bowel motility and monitoring of drug therapy and mucosal healing.
The present review will describe the available capsules in the market, the procedure itself, present indications and future expectations. It will focus on the PillCam SB of Given Imaging as it is the one on which most of the literature is written.
Summary: Over the past 10 years, SBCE has become a routine, first-line investigational tool of many small bowel pathologies.