Virtual colonoscopy found to be as effective as conventional screening

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Virtual colonoscopy has been found to be just as accurate as optical colonoscopy as a screening method for colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the November issue of Radiology. "Our positive experience with virtual colonoscopy screening covered by health insurance demonstrates its enormous potential for increasing compliance for colorectal cancer prevention and screening," said Perry J. Pickhardt, MD, associate professor of radiology at The University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, a lead author of the study. Virtual colonoscopy (3D CT colonography) was found to be less invasive than optical colonoscopy and is able to produce precise and detailed 3D "fly-through" images of the whole colon's interior, and this comes without the risk of bleeding or of perforating the colon. Other benefits of virtual exams are that they do not require sedation, are less costly, and generally takes less time. For the study, researchers performed virtual colonoscopy screening exams on 1,110 asymptomatic adults, consisting of 585 women and 525 men with a mean age of 58.1 years. Large colorectal polyps were identified in 3.9 percent of the participants, medium-sized lesions were identified in 6.9 percent, and those without polyps 6 mm or larger were advised to follow a routine screening interval of five years. Seventy-one of the 1,110 patients had subsequent optical colonoscopy, many of them on the very same day. The optical colonoscopy findings were in agreement with the virtual colonoscopy findings in 65 of the 71 patients. The study was conducted exclusively on the commercially available Viatronix V3D-Colon Platform.