PANAMA CITY -- As important as they are, undergoing a colonoscopy can be, at the very least, inconvenient.
But that could be changing. The Food and Drug Administration has given it's approval to a new tiny camera inside of a capsule that you swallow.
Doctors say there are advantages and disadvantages to the new alternative.
Travis Basford is battling ulcerative colitis. He's quite familiar with the colonoscopy procedure.
Patient Travis Basford said, "You're gonna have to donate a couple of days to it. I think the pill would cut down on recovery time and it'd be you know less invasive and easier."
The pill he refers to is actually a new devise, a disposable capsule and a tiny camera.
The patient swallows the capsule like a pill. It moves through the digestive tract, taking pictures. Technicians upload the pictures to a computer, then doctors can analyze them for obstructions, polyps or cancerous tumors.
MD Ph. D Mariusz Klin said, "Usually camera takes images every three to four seconds, so we have thousands of images so it creates a movie about the intestinal track."
While the capsule is a valuable diagnostic tool, doctors cannot perform all the same tasks as they can with a traditional colonoscopy.
"Capsule Endoscopy will not remove polyp, not yet but we are working the technology of that is coming, but at this time is will be for diagnostic purposes only."
As for Basford, he's glad he'll have an additional option in the future.
"I think it will take a while before people are more open to it its got, like I said get the kinks worked out let the technology come along, and once that is it will be just like people having colonoscopies I would imagine," Basford said.
Doctors say they anticipate future versions of the capsule will be able to remove polyps and other obstructions from the colon.