Upstate News

September 15, 2003
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

SUNY Upstate offers camera-in-a-capsule gastrointestinal endoscopy

You’ve had a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy and other procedures to detect abnormalities of the small intestine, but no disorder was found and you’re still bleeding or in pain. You may be a candidate for the M2A Capsule Endoscopy procedure offered by SUNY Upstate Medical University and available only at University Health Care Manlius.

The procedure uses a tiny, camera-in-a-capsule. Once swallowed, the encapsulated camera travels the entire length of the small intestine, taking approximately 50,000 images at a rate of about two images per second, including those taken in the intestine’s most obscure, hardest to reach areas. The images are recorded over a period of eight hours and transmitted by radio frequency to sensors on a waist belt worn by the patient.

After eight hours, the patient returns the belt and recorder to the doctor’s office. The encapsulated camera is naturally excreted by the patient. The images are downloaded by the physician onto a computer workstation equipped with specialized software. The software processes the data and produces a video of the images transmitted by the capsule as it passed through the gastrointestinal tract. The doctor can then scan the video for abnormalities, including the most minuscule of tears along the lining of the intestines.

According to Ronald Szyjkowski, M.D., the M2A Capsule Endoscopy procedure is used only when other traditional methods, such as colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, ultrasound and radiological imaging fail to detect abnormalities of the small intestines. “More traditional, older procedures can give physicians a good limited view of the small intestinal tract, but they are cumbersome for the patient and do not offer complete visualization of the small intestines,” said Szyjkowski, who along with Philip Holtzapple, M.D., are the only physicians performing the procedure in Central New York.

“Not only does this new procedure allow us to see virtually every area of the small intestines, it is also painless for the patient, does not involve anesthesia or the ingestion of preparatory fluids, and allows patients to go about their daily business while the testing is being performed,” Szyjkowski said.

The small intestine connects the stomach to the large intestine (cecum and colon). It is a folded tube where most of the digestion and absorption occur. Disorders of the small intestine include Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, ulcers, lesions and tumors.

The M2A Capsule Endoscopy procedure was developed by Given Imaging and uses an entire diagnostic system, also developed by Given. The system includes the capsule, containing a miniaturized color video camera, a miniature battery, an antenna and a radio transmitter; waist belt; and computer software.

For more information about the M2A capsule endoscopy procedure, call University Health Care Manlius at 315-682-6600.

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