Although your dad would argue that there are a lot of terrible things about getting older, it's hard to deny that the dreaded colonoscopy is one of the most-referenced drawbacks of aging. The American Cancer society recommends that both men and women first schedule the procedure at age 50, and continue to have colon screenings every 10 years.
Let's face it - nobody likes to get a tube shoved up their butt. But a new pill camera, which has just received approval from the FDA, may eliminate this invasive procedure for many who have trouble with it.
It's called the PillCam Colon, and according to its creators Given Imaging, its's "the only accurate, non-invasive test that directly visualizes the colon to detect polyps."
"PillCam COLON uses a miniaturized camera contained in a disposable capsule that naturally passes through the digestive system, allowing physicians to directly view the entire colon, without sedation or radiation. For patients who have had an incomplete colonoscopy which was not due to poor prep, PillCam COLON can be used to non-invasively complete the colon exam," says Given Imaging.
The pill camera is the size of a vitamin supplement and patients are required to down a couple does of laxatives after consuming. Over the course of about 8-10 hours, as the capsule makes its way through the digestive tract, a small camera snaps high-speed photos - photos that are then recorded on a wearable device for later review. The PillCam Colon is eventually passed as normal.
And the FDA has just approved it.
According to the AP, the PillCam Colon isn't going to replace the traditional colonoscopy. Instead, it will be used for patients who have trouble with the traditional method, and those who have experienced "incomplete" colonoscopies - which encompasses about 750,000 patients in the U.S.