• Colorectal Cancer Info MAIN MENU
  • Screen MAIN MENU
  • Care MAIN MENU
  • Cure MAIN MENU
  • Get Involved MAIN MENU
  • Our Mission MAIN MENU

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Today, Given Imaging Ltd announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared PillCam® COLON as a new way to view the colon. The Colon Cancer Alliance welcomes PillCam COLON as an additional colon exam choice. When detected early, colon cancer is largely preventable. Through advancements like this, we're one step closer to fulfilling our mission of knocking colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers.

About PillCam®

•   PillCam COLON is an FDA cleared device that can be used by doctors to see the colon, including identifying the occurrence of polyps, in patients who have had an incomplete colonoscopy that was not due to poor bowel preparation. The method is considered non-invasive, meaning it is a nonsurgical technique.
•   PillCam COLON measures 12 mm X 33 mm and transmits 4 or 35 frames per second for approximately 10 hours to a recording device worn by the patient.
•   Sedation is not required for the exam, which allows patients to go about their daily routines while PillCam COLON travels through their digestive tract.

About Incomplete Colonoscopy

•   An incomplete colonoscopy occurs when, due to a number of factors, the colonoscope used during traditional colonoscopy is unable to fully view the entire colon. 
•   Due to the importance of fully examining the entire colon for the presence of small clumps of cells, called polyps, that can become cancerous over time, doctors may recommend an alternative colon exam such as PillCam COLON.
•   Approximately 5-10% of all traditional colonoscopies are incomplete, amounting to approximately 750,000 cases per year in the U.S. 
•   Incomplete colonoscopies have a higher incidence among female and elderly patients.
•   Incomplete colonoscopies are also common in patients that have a long colon or in patients whose portion of the colon that meets the rectum is narrow.  


The natural digestive process helps propel the disposable PillCam COLON capsule through the gastrointestinal tract until it is passed naturally and from the body, usually within 10 hours.


Similar to the preparation for colonoscopy, doctors may recommend a clear liquid diet the day before the exam and laxatives the night before and morning of the exam. To ensure that PillCam COLON is able to capture the best images, it is important for patients to closely follow the physician’s instructions before the exam.

Day of the exam

First, the nurse or doctor will place sensors in a belt around or directly on the patient’s abdomen that allows PillCam COLON to wirelessly send captured images to a small recorder. The recorder is attached to a belt that is also worn around the patient’s waist.

The patient then ingests the vitamin-sized video capsule with a glass of water. The patient will drink about two cups of laxatives shortly after the capsule is swallowed.  Patients are free to return to most of their daily activities as PillCam COLON naturally moves through the digestive system.  The recorder will alert the patient if additional laxatives need to be taken to ensure a complete procedure.  

This test can take up to 10 hours. PillCam COLON is passed with a bowel movement and does not need to be retrieved to collect the images from the exam. The patient will then return the data recorder and sensor belt (or have the external sensors removed) to the healthcare facility.

After the exam

After the PillCam COLON exam, a colonoscopy may be recommended to remove and treat any findings such as polyps. For the majority of patients, it is unlikely that there will be findings requiring a follow-up colonoscopy, however, if one is recommended by the physician, an additional round of bowel preparation would be necessary.


Since the specifics around the PillCam are so technical in nature, we're referring questions to www.givenimaging.com for more information. There is a way for you to contact them through the website to make sure questions are routed appropriately. Also, the full press release can be found here. Don't forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health.  If you have additional questions about incomplete colonoscopy or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help! 


Related reading

Are you sure?

Clicking "Start Over" will empty your resources drawer and take you back to the beginning of the journey customizer. Would you like to continue?

Are you sure?

Clicking "Exit" will permanently close your resource drawer for the rest of the session. If you would like to minimize the drawer and access it from other pages, click the symbol next to "MY RESOURCES". Would you like to permanently exit the drawer?