Magnetically guided video capsule for stomach examination

4 Nov 2010

Siemens Healthcare and Olympus Medical Systems have developed a magnetically guided capsule endoscope (MGCE) system that enables examination of the stomach more comfortably than using traditional systems.

The patient swallows a capsule and lies inside a donut-shaped magnet so that the capsule can be moved through the stomach by magnetism. The capsule transmits images of the stomach that a doctor can view onscreen.

The system consists of:

  • the 31x11mm capsule, which contains a video camera at each end, a transmitter, battery and a magnet;
  • a donut-shaped magnetic guidance system that the patient lies inside after swallowing the capsule;
  • an image processing system to display the images from the capsule live onsceen; and
  • a guidance information system that enables the doctor to control the movement of the capsule by joystick.

The patient swallows the capsule and is positioned in the magnetic guidance system so that the stomach including the capsule is located in the centre of the magnetic field.

A patient lies in the magnetic guidance system
A patient enters the magnetic guidance system

The doctor uses the joystick to control the magnetic field to navigate the capsule in the stomach. The cameras at both ends of the capsule transmit images from inside the stomach to the image processing system where the doctor can view the images on screens.

The Capsule endoscope system
A doctor controls the capsule and views images onscreen

Diagram showing how the capsule can be navigated in the stomach
Diagram showing how the capsule can be navigated in the stomach

A feasibility study of the MGCE system has been performed at the Institute Arnault Tzanck in Saint Laurent du Var (France) by Dr Jean-Francois Rey and his colleagues. The study, published in the journal Endoscopy [1], showed that the new technology appears to be feasible and sufficiently accurate for gastric examination and may permit endoscopic examinations that are more patient-friendly and without sedation.

“The magnetically guided capsule system provides reliable results for gastrointestinal endoscopic examinations compared to conventional endoscopy. The capsule enables much less invasive stomach examinations. It means an enormous boost in acceptability for the patient," concluded Dr. Jean-Francois Rey.

The study participants were equally enthusiastic, with 93% saying the examination was comfortable and 89% found it easy to swallow the capsule. All patients questioned preferred the magnetically guided capsule endoscope over conventional gastrointestinal endoscopy.


1. Rey JF, et al. Feasibility of stomach exploration with a guided capsule endoscope. Endoscopy 2010

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