GI Blog

Recent Development and Future Trend of Capsule Endoscopy

18 September 2023

Since the first release of capsule endoscopy in 2001, the use of gastroenteroscopy has continued to increase. Capsule endoscopes have proven to be superior to standard endoscopes in terms of patient comfort. Routine endoscopy can be painful for the patient and often requires moderate to deep sedation. However, another option can be done while the patient is awake. Conventional endoscopes are also limited in their reach, often only being able to visualize a small portion of the small intestine. 

However, capsule endoscopy is capable of imaging the entire GI tract. 

Although capsule endoscopy has many advantages, it also has its limitations. One of the disadvantages of capsule endoscopy is that it may remain in the body. In less than 2 percent of exams, patients retained the device. Another problem with capsule endoscopy is that it cannot be guided or controlled.

Capsule endoscopy has come a long way in the past 20 years but still shows great potential for future improvement. One of these potential improvements includes the maneuverability of the device.

The capsule can be guided in the whole process of the patient's body, and targeted inspection can be carried out. This capability also opens up the possibility of delivering drugs directly to the region of interest. Controlling the capsule endoscope externally can help reduce the overall power consumption of the device. The power saved from external control equipment can then be used to improve functions such as image collection and transmission.

Capsule endoscopes can pass through the human body non-invasively, which is significantly different from traditional conventional endoscopes.

But in some ways, conventional endoscopy still has the edge. On the one hand, the maneuverability of conventional endoscopes allows for more direct inspection of points of interest; on the other hand, the external wiring of conventional endoscopes provides continuous power to the endoscope during use, making it more robust. high voltage. This external wiring also prevents the endoscope from being left in the body—residual capsule endoscopes are one of the device's most notable drawbacks, and often require extra steps to remove them.

The use of MEMS technology such as CMOS image sensors and other small technologies such as wireless radio frequency transmitters make the device more versatile than its traditional counterparts in many ways.

Capsule endoscopy has not yet reached its full potential, and scientists are working on innovative technologies every day. The limitations of capsule endoscopy in terms of battery life, frame rate, and controllability leave a lot to be desired.

Additionally, the ability of capsule endoscopes to perform things like biopsies could be another potential future application of the device. The realization of these functions will help to further reduce the overall number of invasive procedures.

With the advancement of technology, the function of capsule endoscopy is also constantly improving. Its novel, non-invasive and safe endoscopy method makes it popular with gastroenterologists. Future capabilities of capsule endoscopes, such as autonomous movement and targeted drug delivery, could expand the device's range of applications even further. While it is not yet the ideal analytical device, continued improvements and innovations in capsule endoscopy will help it eventually become the preferred choice for all gastrointestinal diagnostic procedures.