Study Looks at Benefits & Risks of Virtual Colonoscopies

by: cancercompass

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is providing a closer look at the benefits and risks of virtual colonoscopies.

The procedure, also called CT colonography, differs from a traditional colonoscopy because it does not require anesthesia and is less invasive. Virtual colonoscopies involve a CT scan of the lower body, which does expose the patient to radiation.

The study, led by the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, attempted to determine if CT colonography is as accurate as a traditional colonoscopy.

All 2,600 study participants received both a virtual and a traditional colonoscopy, with 99 percent of participants undergoing both procedures on the same day. The results of the study show that virtual colonoscopies identified 90% of large polyps that were detected by the traditional colonoscopies.

The researchers acknowledged that failing to identify 10% of the large polyps isn't ideal. However, the researchers believe that virtual colonoscopies will be more beneficial over time because a greater number of people will undergo the non-invasive procedure.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, virtual colonoscopies also cost less than the traditional procedure. CT colonography is an outpatient procedure that does not require an anesthesiologist and pathologist to be present.

Learn more about additional testing methods to detect colon cancer.