Crosby-Kugler capsule

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Crosby-Kuguler capsule, invented by W.H. Crosby in 1955

The Crosby-Kugler capsule, also called the Crosby capsule, is a device used for obtaining biopsies of small bowel mucosa needed for the diagnosis of various small bowel pathology. Originally invented by William H Crosby, MD for the evaluation of sprue.

The capsule, which is attached to a long, thin tube, is swallowed. The other end of the tube remains outside the patients mouth. When the capsule has reached the desired section of bowel, suction is applied to the tube. This suction triggers a mechanism in the capsule which causes a spring-loaded knife to sweep across an aperture in the capsule (see figure), cutting away any mucosa which happens to be protruding into the aperture. The capsule is then pulled up by the tube and the biopsied tissue retrieved from within the capsule chamber.

From about 1980 it has been possible to get adequate biopsies from adults during an upper endoscopy, and the Crosby capsule has there after been used mainly in children.


  • Crosby WH and Kugler HW: Intraluminal biopsy of the small intestine: the intestinal biopsy capsule.
  • The American Journal of Digestive Diseases, May 1957, 2 (5): 236-241.
  • Greene HL, Rosensweig NS, Lufkin EG, Hagler L, Gozansky D, Taunton OD, Herman RH. Biopsy of the small intestine with the Crosby-Kugler capsule. Experience in 3,866 peroral biopsies in children and adults. The American Journal of Digestive Diseases, 1974 Mar;19(3):189-98.
an x-ray showing an intestinal biopsy using the Crosby-Kugler capsule