A revolutionary new procedure has been introduced at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to help detect the first signs of bowel cancer.
Endoscopy staff are now able to use a tiny camera, encapsulated in a pill, to perform more precise screening.
The capsule, which is the size of a large vitamin pill, is swallowed by patients and makes the same journey through the intestine as food.
As it passes through the digestive system, it captures thousands of images of the intestinal lining to help identify any signs of disease like cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
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These images are automatically transmitted to a recorder worn on a belt around the patient’s waist which they return to the hospital within 24 hours so that the images can be downloaded and reviewed.
The initiative is part of the Scottish Colon Capsule Endoscopy Service (SCOTCAP) which aims to help detect bowel cancer earlier so that treatment can be provided as quickly as possible.
It is hoped that using a capsule camera will help clinicians see and treat more patients and reduce wait times.
Paul Hendry, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Endoscopy, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We are delighted to bring this new diagnostic procedure to Forth Valley.
“Swallowing the capsule with water is painless and the patient does not need to be sedated although he still has to undergo the same bowel cleansing preparation as a patient undergoing a colonoscopy.
“This will allow us to prioritize patients who are yet to undergo colonoscopy and support our recovery plans as we work hard to deal with the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “