How Much Does a Video Capsule Endoscopy Cost?

Written by: Staff

A capsule endoscopy is a medical device used to record images of the digestive tract.  The capsule is the same size as a regular pill, but it contains a built-in camera and can be used to examine areas of the small intestine that cannot usually be seen by a physician.  Since there are 18 to 22 feet of intestines, it can be hard to reach some areas with a traditional scope.

It can be used to examine areas of the small intestine that usually can’t be seen by other types of endoscopies such as a colonoscopy.  The price of capsule endoscopy depends on the doctor performing the procedure, the inclusions, geographical location and complexity of the job.

How much does a video capsule endoscopy cost?

On average, a capsule endoscopy can cost anywhere from $900 to $2,625 without insurance.  The capsule alone costs anywhere from $600 to $1,300.

The NCBI says the cost of an inpatient capsule endoscopy is about €1775.90 or about $1,900 in USD.

Capsule endoscopy overview

A capsule endoscopy is a pill similar to a vitamin pill you would swallow but built inside this pill will be a tiny camera that will travel the entire length of your gastrointestinal tract, taking close to 50,000 pictures while goes through.  Some will be designed for the intestines, while others may be specifically designed for the colon or esophagus.  Dr. Havranek, a board-certified gastroenterologist, says it’s equivalent of a high-definition video of your smaller intestines.  While the pill travels through and takes these pictures, it will emit radio waves to a smaller device that’s worn on your wrist, similar to something such as a Fitbit.    Eventually, it will be naturally in your stool and can be flushed away since the doctor won’t ask for it back.

During the exam, you will wear a receiver around your waist or you may have to wear adhesive patches before you swallow the capsule.  The entire process at the doctor’s office will take less than 20 minutes, and the pill will take about eight to 10 hours to travel through your intestines.  The doctor will usually ask for you to come for an appointment in the morning and return later in the afternoon to retrieve the receiver to download the images to a computer.  The report will be evaluated and could take a few days to receive your results.

This capsule will be used to diagnose problems such as anemia, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, locating cancers or diagnosing Crohn’s disease.

What are the extra costs?

A capsule endoscopy is meant to find out what’s wrong with the patient’s digestive tract.  If surgery or any another type of procedure is needed, additional costs need to be considered.

Tips to know

To prepare for the service, you may have to avoid any solid foods for up to 48 hours prior to the procedure and stick to a liquid diet.  Solid foods, especially if they are dark in color, can affect the test since the pill may bypass lesions that are darker in color.

When you swallow the pill, doctors will ask that you take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise for the next eight hours.  You will also be asked to avoid eating for the next two hours after you swallowed.  After four hours, you will be able to eat a lighter lunch.

Let your doctor know if you have a pacemaker, defibrillator or have had abdominal surgery in the past.

Capsule endoscopy video on YouTube

How can I save money?

You’re actually saving money if you consider this procedure since the doctors will be able to identify if surgery is needed or if medicine can work.

Check with your health insurance provider to see if this procedure is covered as it more than likely will be if it’s deemed medically necessary.  For those without health insurance, highly consider finding policies through sites such as eHealthInsurance.

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