Pill-sized Camera to See Your Insides Approved by FDA [Video]

A pill-seized camera can now examine your insides.

A bite-sized camera has been approved by the FDA as a way-out for patients who can’t undergo a complete colonoscopy.

A tiny camera, created by Israeli company Given Imaging, is “a non-invasive and radiation-free alternative for patients who are unable to have a complete colonoscopy.”

“A lot of people have reflux but don’t feel the pain of heartburn,” said MGH pathologist Gary Tearney. “[Our device] really opens up screening to many more people.”

Thanks to its small sizes the PillCam COLON can easily navigate through a patient’s intestines for several hours, taking high quality images that are sent to a device worn by a patient that are later examined by doctors.

“The company conducted an 884-patient, 16-site clinical trial studying the accuracy and safety of PillCam COLON compared to optical colonoscopy in detecting adenomas six millimetres or larger,” Financial Express writes.

“Results from this clinical trial demonstrated that the sensitivity for PillCam COLON was 88 per cent and specificity was 82 per cent in detecting adenomas,” the publication adds.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the novelty for use in the U.S., explaining that its decision was based on an analysis of this clinical trial data that used a more restrictive methodology for matching polyps.

“PillCam COLON will improve patient care by offering a new and effective colon imaging option for patients who have experienced an incomplete colonoscopy,” said Douglas Rex, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chancellor’s Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine.

“Among the limited alternatives available after incomplete colonoscopy, PillCam COLON gives us a minimally invasive, radiation-free option that provides endoscopic images of the same basic type that have made colonoscopy so useful,” said Rex.

“I think that there’s going to be a real demand for this and although they’re occasional cases, we look at this as a very good way to evaluate portions of the colon that we haven’t seen,” adds Rex in the video.

“We also can potentially see other esophageal diseases,” says Tearney, who previously described a probe for imaging blocked arteries. “Moving toward the future, we’re going to be building pills that can diagnose diseases of the stomach, diseases of the small intestine and even diseases of the colon.”

Incomplete colonoscopies are observed in approximately 750,000 patients in the country per year, according to the camera producer.

“Patients with incomplete colonoscopies often incur additional costs along with the inconvenience and risk of other procedures to complete the colorectal examination,” explains Financial Express.

“The incidence of incomplete colonoscopies is higher in women due to the increase in past pelvic surgeries and the differing anatomy of women that includes particularly acute rectosigmoid angles in thin women,” the publication adds.

As Mashable claims, the new device isn’t meant to be used in place of a colonoscopy only, but rather in tandem with the procedure, especially because its images aren’t as high-quality.

Which is more, its cost can be also described as advantage of the novelty: the camera’s price tag is about $500, as compared to a traditional colonoscopy, which can cost thousands of dollars.

By the way, PillCam has also been approved for use in 80 other countries, in addition to the U.S.

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