Pill-Sized Camera FDA Approved for Colonoscopies

First Posted: Feb 10, 2014 07:29 PM EST

Researchers may have stumbled across a new tool to make colonoscopies less uncomfortable.

At this time, inserting a long, thin and flexible tube into the colon is the only way to detect the possibility of ulcers, colon polyps, tumors or any areas of inflammation that could cause bleeding in rectal areas or other parts of the large intestine. Yet scientists are currently working on putting this medical process in the past. With the help of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval, a pill-sized camera could be used in replacement of a colonoscopy.

The latest innovation, PillCam Colon, is manufactured by Given Imaging, and is an ingestible pill camera that actually allows doctors to look inside a patient's colon for polyps and other possible signs of colon cancer. The bite-size camera has been in the works for the past decade, and could potentially help an estimated 750,000 American patients who cannot undergo colonoscopies due to various colon diseases and previous surgeries.

"Given's management understands that the traditional colonoscopy is the gastroenterologist's bread and butter right now," said Debbie Wang, an analyst from MorningStar,via the  Huffington Post. "So they didn't want to do anything that would position this as a substitute."

The device is estimated to cost somewhere over $60 million within North America by 2019. As PillCam Colon currently costs $500, estimates show that this is significantly less than an estimated $4,000 for a colonoscopy.

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