PROCEDURE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES Virtual Colonoscopy
Traditional Colonoscopy Detects large polyps + + Can miss polyps < ++ + 10mm Needs bowel + + preparation Can remove polyp - + during procedure Air blown into + + colon to inflate it Adverse effects Abdominal pain, Abdominal pain, 'incidentalomas' perforation, bleeding (usually with polyp removal)
The first multicenter prospective trial found that virtual colonoscopy
compared well with traditional colonoscopy in the detection of polyps
A deflation maneuver that lasts only 4 seconds can alleviate roughly 6 minutes of pain during virtual colonoscopy
, he reported.
While most evidence suggests that virtual colonoscopy
is comparable to optical colonoscopy for detecting large polyps, not all data agree.
uses a CT scan and computer software to produce images of the colon and rectum.
As yet, Medicare and most insurance companies do not reimburse the cost of virtual colonoscopy
for colon cancer screening.
Because cardiovascular disease is often asymptomatic prior to a heart attack, researchers wanted to see if they could use virtual colonoscopy
to measure calcium deposit levels within the aorta and its branching vessels without the need for additional testing.
Carrascosa reported at an international symposium on virtual colonoscopy
sponsored by Boston University.
In fact, while 70 percent of those in the study agreed that the virtual colonoscopy
was more convenient, 54 percent reported that it was more uncomfortable than the traditional screening.
Besides eliminating the "invasion" of a tube or scope, virtual colonoscopy
requires no sedation, anesthesia or hospital stay.
Don't expect virtual colonoscopy
to boost colon cancer detection rates.
The price of virtual colonoscopy
is generally lower as well--ranging from about $700 to $1,000, compared to $1,000 to $2,500 for the older method--and is covered by some insurance companies.