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Virtual Colonoscopy Now Available at ViaMedica

Posted Jun 23 2011 12:00am
Virtual Colonoscopy
Virtual colonoscopy is a quicker and less invasive technique than a conventional colonoscopy. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis, along with 3-D reconstructed images are used to view the inside of the colon. The entire exam takes only 10 minutes.

Virtual colonoscopy is used to screen for polyps or cancer in the large intestine. It is a highly advanced and accurate screening method.
Polyps are growths that arise from the inner lining of the intestine. Some polyps may grow and turn into cancer. The goal is to find these growths in their early stages, so that they can be removed before cancer has had a chance to develop.

Risk factors for the disease include a history of polyps, a family history of colon cancer, or the presence of blood in the stool.

What are the benefits vs. risks?

Benefits:

• Minimally invasive - can depict many polyps and other lesions as clearly as when they are directly seen by conventional colonoscopy.

• Markedly lower risk of perforating the colon than conventional colonoscopy.

• Virtual colonoscopy is an excellent alternative for patients who have clinical factors that increase the risk of complications from colonoscopy, such as treatment with anticoagulants (blood thinners) or a severe breathing problem.

• Elderly patients, especially those who are frail or ill, may tolerate Virtual colonoscopy better than conventional colonoscopy.

• Virtual colonoscopy can be helpful when colonoscopy cannot be completed because the bowel is narrowed or obstructed for any reason, such as by a large tumor.

• If conventional colonoscopy cannot reach the full length of the colon-which occurs up to 10 percent of the time. Virtual colonoscopy can view the entire colon.

• No sedation or pain-relievers are required; therefore there is no recovery period.

• Able to go to work right after the procedure.

Risks:

• There is a very small risk that inflating the colon with air could injure or perforate the bowel. This has been estimated to happen in fewer than one in 10,000 patients.
• There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
• CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
Disadvantages:
• No biopsies are taken with this method; if something is seen and requires biopsy a conventional colonoscopy will be required.
• Does not visualize Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
To book an appointment call us at: 514-626-5888.


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