On the day of your VCE of the small bowel

Video capsule endoscopy of the small bowel

Please follow these instructions before your appointment.

  • 4am. Do not drink after 4am.
  • 6am. Essential medicines can be taken with water only before 6am.
  • Non-essential medicines can wait until you have a snack at lunchtime.
  • If you have diabetes, please check if you can take your morning medications with the nurse.
  • You must not eat (including gum, sweets and mints) but can have small sips of water up to 3 hours before your appointment.

At your appointment

Please be on time. If you are running late please call the reception desk in case the appointment has to be rescheduled.

Please wear a loose top that buttons up or zips up at the front.

We will place a sensor belt or sensor array and recorder pouch on you.

We will give you the video capsule to swallow with water.

The video capsule real time viewer will be used to check the pictures and to make sure the capsule is recording well before sending you home.

After swallowing the VCE

Please follow these instructions carefully.

When you swallow the capsule

  • You can drink only water for 4 hours after swallowing the capsule.
  • Do not smoke for the next 12 hours.

2 hours after swallowing the capsule

  • You can have water to drink but no food.

4 hours after swallowing the capsule

  • You can have a light snack, for example a small sandwich or small baked potato with filling.
  • Do not have any other food for another 4 hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Milk is allowed from now on too.
  • Do not drink alcohol.

8 hours after swallowing the capsule

  • You can eat and drink as usual.
  • Take your medicines as normal, including any usual medicines for diabetes.

At the time agreed

  • Return the equipment to the endoscopy unit reception.

After your VCE

Your consultant will send a capsule review report and summary letter to you and your GP. This can take up to 4 weeks.

If you do not pass the capsule

If you have not passed the capsule within 7 days, speak to your local pharmacist. You can take a one-off dose of a laxative, such as senna tablets.

If you have not passed the capsule, please tell the gastroenterology doctor who will arrange for you to have an abdominal X-ray to check the location of the capsule.

You must not have an MRI examination until you have passed the capsule.

Contact your hospital team if:

  • you have tummy pain that is getting worse
  • your tummy is swelling
  • you are being sick

Contacting us about your results

For information about the capsule consultant report review, summary letter and gastro review outcome.

Phone 020 7188 8887 ext 40407 or 40704 or email [email protected]

For surgical review outcome, phone 020 7188 8887 ext 86475

Resource number: 4298 /VER3
Date published: March 2023
Review date: March 2026

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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