Gastroenterology | A Camera You Can Swallow? New Science Helps Diagnose Stomach Ailments

A Camera You Can Swallow? New Science Helps Diagnose Stomach Ailments

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Care for a front-row seat on a roller coaster ride through your body? It isn’t science fiction anymore. So says Dr. Alexander Shapsis, who routinely goes on these “fantasticvoyage” style journeys to treat numerous patients at Atlantic Gastroenterology. “[The camera] sees areas that were never seen before—areas that were overlooked by conventional endoscopy and small bowel Xray,” he says. For those suffering gastrointestinal disorders, this often proves a more effective means of diagnosis.

If you like this article, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexander Shapsis by calling toll free 1-877-584-1644 or on the bottom of this page click "CLICK 2 CALL" button.


A digestible camera, the “PillCam” acts as a squadron of paparazzi as it free falls through your small intestine. Dr. Shapsis—a specialist in gastroenterology, hepatology and hepatobilliary diseases—says that it’s more accurate at detecting ulcers and tumors than CT scans or traditional X-ray studies. It’s particularly effective in identifying arterial vascular malformations (AVMs) in the small intestine, which is the leading cause of serious intestinal bleeding. “This is a major breakthrough,” Dr. Shapsis says. “Until now, we had no effective way to examine this area.” 

With the PillCam’s help, doctors can now repair AVMs before they rupture and bleed. PillCams are also pivotal in diagnosing Crohn’s disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), and a host of other problems in both the esophagus and the small intestine. Not bad for a capsule-shaped device the size of a vitamin!


The PillCam holds a super-small spinning camera that takes 30 two-mega-pixel images a second as it tumbles toward the tummy. Once the patient gulps the capsule down, everything is left to nature.

Over the next eight hours, the pill travels down the esophagus and through roughly 20–25 feet of intestine, where it captures up to 870,000 images. During that time, the patient — who feels no ill effects—wears a small vest that contains a battery of sorts (the camera is powered through induction charging) and a recorder that receives the images as fast as they’re sent. The vest can be worn underneath clothing so one can actually run errands and go to work as the test goes through the motions.

Like most things you put in your mouth, the PillCam ultimately comes out—painlessly, through your stool—within 72 hours. But Dr. Shapsis doesn’t need the camera. All he needs is the recorder and the pictures it took on its trip.


Think about it this way: Most people don’t want to look at five photos of your trip to the Grand Canyon—much less 870,000. Imagine that many of your digestive system! Dr. Shapsis painstakingly studies each one, looking for abnormalities that could be causing your symptoms.

The good thing is that the person looking at your internal photos is a board-certified, fellowship-trained gastroenterologist who’s worked with top medical minds at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Mount Sinai on your side. It’s also a boon to have the support of Atlantic Gastroenterology, a stateof- the-art facility, where the PillCam is just one of many tools in Dr. Shapsis’ box. With his knowledge, experience, and cutting-edge equipment, he and his team treat all kinds of gastroenterological disorders, like abdominal pain, acid reflux, constipation, gastritis, hemorrhoids, indigestion and ulcers—all in the comfort of their office. They also perform colonoscopies and are experts in treating colon cancer and removing polyps.

Dr. Alexander SHAPSIS
Atlantic Gastroenterology
2797 Ocean Parkway, 1st FL, Brooklyn, NY 11235

To Schedule an appointment call Toll Free: 1-877-584-1644


CLICK "CLICK 2 CALL" Button and we'll call you in real time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shapsis.

Dr. Alexander SHAPSIS MD

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