Study: Virtual colonoscopy more effective than optical colonoscopy at identifying polyps

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Primary 3D virtual colonoscopy (VC) compares well with optical colonoscopy (OC) for colorectal neoplasia screening in asymptomatic individuals, especially for polyp identification, according to results published in the September 2007 issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

The study compared VC with OC findings in symptomatic gastroenterology outpatients, using 100 gastroenterology outpatients aged 50 and older, who underwent same-day VC and OC. The endoscopists who performed the OCs were unaware of the radiologist's report until the withdrawal phase when segmental unblinding occurred. At which time, the VC and OC findings were compared using the unblinded OC as a reference standard.

In symptomatic patients, 3D VC is equivalent to OC for diagnosing colon cancer and clinically significant polyps. For polyp sensitivity, VC identified 100 percent of 6mm polyps and 90 percent for OC.

The report, “Virtual versus Optical Colonoscopy in Symptomatic Gastroenterology Outpatients – the Case for Virtual Imaging Followed by Targeted Diagnostic or Therapeutic Colonoscopy,” was performed at the departments of Gastroenterology and Radiology, Hampstead Campus, Royal Free and University College Medical School in London.