video pill
(VI.dee.oh pil) n. A camera approximately the size of a vitamin pill that, when ingested, transmits images from a person’s stomach and intestinal tract.

Example Citation:
Internal video camera

This hi-tech video pill, developed by Israeli company Given Imaging, records footage from the inside of a patient's body to reduce the need for invasive surgery. The pill will especially be used for difficult conditions to assess such as intestinal disorders or bowel complaints.

HOW IT WORKS: Packed inside this tiny device, the size of a large vitamin tablet, is a lens, antenna, light emitting diodes, a transmitter and a battery.

The pill is swallowed and as it travels through the patient's system records footage which is beamed back to a computer unit for assessment by a doctor while the patient is in the consulting room. When the doctor has the recording, the patient may leave.

The pill is then excreted "normally and effortlessly" say the manufacturer.

WHO BENEFITS: Previously the only way to get a look at the inner intestine was to conduct surgery or undertake an uncomfortable and invasive colonoscopy, so this device is perfect for the scalpel-shy.

AVAILABLE WHEN: The video pill is currently on trial in several UK hospitals and should be generally available, at a price at yet undisclosed, early next year.
—Peter Jenkinson, "Tech a look into the future," The Mirror, June 12, 2003

Earliest Citation:
In a stunning development, Scottish scientists recently announced that they have developed a prototype of a "video pill" that will detect cancer and other diseases as it travels through the body.

The Glasgow University scientists say the pill will carry a tiny video camera, capable of relaying pictures to diagnostic computers, alerting doctors to health problems.
—Lawrence Hall, "video pill could help people who aren't the picture of health," The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), April 12, 2000

The video pill also goes by a few other names: camera pill, pillcam, M2A Swallowable Imaging Capsule, M2A capsule, and capsule endoscope. Given the latter, it will come as no surprise to hear that doctors call this procedure a capsule endoscopy. M2A, by the by, is short for mouth to anus, since that's the route the video pill takes.

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