Royal Free London using pioneering technology

27 October 2016

A leading gastroenterologist at the Royal Free London talked about new endoscopy technology at our medicine for members event this week.

Professor Owen Epstein, gastroenterologist at the Royal Free London, presented the history of gastroenterology and explored the technological transformations taking place in endoscopy, both nationally and at the trust. 

Professor Epstein said: “The first job for a gastroenterologist is to find out where exactly in the 20ft long small intestine, 5ft long large intestine and rest of the stomach the patient’s symptoms are coming from.”

Professor Epstein explained that this has always been done with an endoscope or colonoscope, which can lead to some discomfort for the patient. However, technology has been developed to allow “wireless endoscopy” through the use of a pill-like camera, which can be swallowed and which photographs the intestines painlessly. 

Professor Epstein added: “The pill sends us images wirelessly that we can upload to our computers. There is no need for us to use cables or wires and the patient can continue their daily life while it operates. This pill is currently not the routine method of treating patients, but it is breakthrough technology and has completely transformed the way we could practise endoscopy.

“The Royal Free London has a rich history of being a place for innovation. We want to use this innovative technology to deliver friendly and painless gastroenterology.”


Image: Professor Owen Epstein, gastroenterologist, presents the pill

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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.