Virtually Pain-Free

Virtual colonoscopy can help patients avoid conventional colonoscopy

The significance of a detected colon polyp matches closely with the confidence
score of an interpreting radiologist using virtual colonoscopy. This suggests
that virtual colonoscopy may help determine if polyp removal is truly needed,
thereby avoiding overuse of invasive conventional colonoscopy, according to
a new study in the December 2004 issue of the American
Journal of Roentgenology
.

Virtual colonoscopy is a relatively noninvasive examination that uses a CT scan
to evaluate the colon for polyps. "Among the benefits of virtual colonoscopy
are that, unlike conventional colonoscopy, the procedure does not require intravenous
pain medications, sedation or recovery room time," said Perry J. Pickhardt,
MD, from the University of Wisconsin Medical School and lead author on the paper.

For the study, 1,339 patients with no symptoms underwent both virtual colonoscopy
and conventional colonoscopy. A total of 305 polyps were found at virtual colonoscopy
that were 6 mm or larger, the size at which the physician needs to decide how
to treat the patient.

For those polyps, the likelihood that the polyp was found
at conventional colonoscopy and that it was potentially precancerous correlated
closely with the confidence score of the interpreting radiologist.

From an American
Roentgen Ray Society press release
via Eureka Alert

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