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Not your father's colonoscopy

PillCam Colon Capsule Endoscope from Given Imaging

Given Imaging has come up with another pill for use in examining your insides.

Although it seems comical, this is one gadget you will really be happy about someday. The PillCam Colon Capsule Endoscope is essentially a large pill with cameras inside it for viewing the colon.

Like the PillCam ESO for the esophagus and the PillCam SB for the gastrointestinal tract, patients swallow the pill with water, according to Given Imaging.

The PillCam Colon can generate up to 144,000 images over a 10-hour period, and includes additional features suited to the large intestine that the PillCam SB lacked. In tests, the device picked up on polyps that a regular colonoscopy did not detect.

The PillCam Colon Capsule Endoscope is expected to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2006, according to Given Imaging. Other versions of the pill, like the pediatric version used for detecting conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, have been approved in the U.S. since 2003.

According to information on Given Imaging's Web site, capsule endoscopy is covered by several major insurance companies, including Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Oxford. Software for the device is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Dutch and Finnish.

As Medgadget pointed out, the PillCam Colon was unveiled at the United European Gastroenterology Week in Berlin.

Now there's no excuse not to get checked.

(Photo: Given Imaging)