I hear I can swallow a capsule instead of having an endoscopy or colonoscopy!
It is true that technology has come a long way. We have been able to fit a tiny camera, light source and transmission device into the size of a large vitamin pill. These new devices are known as "capsule endoscopy" or "pill cam".
The advantages of these new devices include ease of use and minimal complications compared to traditional endoscopic evaluation. Administration of capsule endoscopy can occur in a doctors surgery as opposed to an operating theatre, the patient usually does not require sedation or anesthesia, the patient go home and return the device later in the day or the following day. As camera technology improves, the image quality of the captured images also improve.
The disadvantages include the inability to manipulate the device to focus on particular interest areas, the inability to take tissue samples to aid diagnosis, and cost (albeit cheaper than endoscopic evaluation). Capsule endoscopy continues to evolve. It currently aids traditional endoscopic evaluation for a number of GI conditions. Speak to your specialist for more information.