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Colon Health Alert: New Colon Exam Tool Approved

Posted on February 3, 2014

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 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! 

15 Responses to “Colon Health Alert: New Colon Exam Tool Approved”

  1. Luis Freitas says:

    This is awesome!!! Do you know when doctors will start using this? Is there a list or something? I’d love to talk to my doctor about this.

  2. tina whitt says:

    Iam a so glad to hear this.I had colon cancer.and hate those test.I wonder when Columbus.ohio will get that.

  3. Joanne Sottile says:

    When will ths be available and will it be covered by insurance?

  4. Arthur Smith says:

    I’m sure there a reason why this pill is not used instead of the scope for all exams. Would you please explain why that is?

  5. Penny Martin says:

    This is great news! Thank YOU!

  6. Arthur Villarreal says:

    I don’t trust colonoscopies and I’m really interested in this procedure. Please send me information on now I can get it done and need to know where and cost or I’d Medicare will pay for this procedure…..


    Arthur Villarreal

  7. juan naylor says:

    I live in zip code 60010. How can i find out from you which dr is using this device around my área.

  8. Douglas Hamilton says:

    What is the cost of the procedure and will it be covered by insurance/Medicare?

    • Becky Kerner says:

      Hi there! Please check out our updated post in regard to where specific PillCam questions are being directed. Thanks for continuing the conversation!

  9. Rose Morrison says:

    Wow, Finally.I cannot drink the prep that is given for a colonoscopy. I’ve had several and have had to have enemas to get cleaned out that are very unpleasant. Thank you for the information.

  10. mary mathews says:

    My understanding is that the downside of this concept is that often anomalies are found and the camera can’t take the sample of the tissue to test. So, if they see something suspicious (which they often do) you might still have to have the no-fun-real-thing colonscopy.

  11. Tessa says:

    I’ve asked my Gastro Dr. about this, and he said that if a person does have a Polyp, it can be removed by the Colonoscopy Scope, and not by the PillCamColon. I had a Polyp and it was removed and biopsied and was malignant, stage 3 Cancer, now I’m getting Chemotherapy. I’m allergic to the Oxa chemo drug, and had horrible side effects and now I’m just on the 5-FU and Luecovorin. I think the PillCamColon would be great, but if a person has a Polyp, a colonoscopy has to be done to remove the Polyp and then sent to the lab to be biopsied. That’s what I was told. I had the Colonoscopy because I had bleeding and mucous accompanied by bloating and pain. I was misdiagnosed for years by Gastro Drs. telling me I had Ulcerative Colitis, nothing else.

  12. Penny Martin says:

    What a break through! This should be an option for everyone! People would more likely to get tested!

  13. RH says:

    This is interesting, but not a “revolutionary breakthrough. If a polyp is found, then you have to do ANOTHER colon cleanse and have an actually colonoscopy to have the polyps removed. That means colon prep twice. Colon prep is the hard part for most people, not the procedure.

    I’m trying to think of where it’s really helpful… If there was a way to skip the colon cleanse, now THAT would be great!

  14. vijay naik..architect. says:

    The Hon’ble sir,i mr.vijay naik..architect.india.expect to be solved my exact problem by you or any.i was a colorectal cancer patient before five years.and i was operated for it. the Rectum from my body is removed by the operation. now i am wealth by health.i use colostomy bag but the problem is that i have to spent atleast two hours to clean my stoma bowl being architect it is not permissible for my job.i expect to be closed the loophole and to set again the Recctum newly in my body. sir,if my expectation is on right way pl.e-mail the all about details to me. Thanks for kind help.Yours faithfully…vijaynaik.architect.India-Mumbai.

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