Most people don’t get excited when a doctor tells them they’ll need an endoscopy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the procedure usually requires inserting a long, thin tube into the body, through the mouth or another cavity, to view an internal organ.
Fortunately, companies like Shanghai’s Ankon Medical Technologies have developed capsule endoscopies. Rather than an invasive insertion, patients swallow a vitamin-sized pill with a camera inside.
The capsule is called a NaviCam. In order to use it, the patient must fast overnight, drink 1 liter of water and then ingest simethicone, a defoaming agent that decreases gastric mucus and distends the stomach. Once swallowed, the NaviCam travels through the digestive tract. Then a doctor uses a joystick remote control to direct the capsule inside of the body to take pictures.
“Images are taken at two frames per second and sent wirelessly to the portable data recorder. The images are transferred to a computer for a clinician to examine,” according to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence.
After the photos are taken the NaviCam passes normally through the patient.
Endoscopies play an essential role in diagnosing infections, gastrointestinal bleeding and serious conditions, like cancer and Crohn’s disease.
A capsulized version of the technology is a significant innovation as the NaviCam is less invasive and requires no intubation or sedation like the traditional method. Moreover, its ability to be remote controlled and guided by a doctor makes it better than other capsule endoscopies on the market.
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