Virtual Colonoscopies

Related articles

Italian researchers reported on Tuesday that virtual colonoscopies performed with computed tomography scans might be a viable alternative to traditional, invasive methods that use a tiny camera threaded through the colon.

We ve heard of this before, but this is the first time I ve seen an article that says screening ability is comparable to regular colonoscopy, says ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. It s known to be less reliable, you still have to go through the same unpleasant prep, and the CT scan doesn t have the ability to remove a polyp. If they did find one, they d have to start all over to remove it the standard way.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross sees this as a potentially beneficial discovery: This is a case where we can t let the perfect become an enemy of the good. The virtual scan will still miss some polyps that the traditional colonoscopy would catch. However, less than 50% of adults over fifty who should be screened are getting the procedure because they are embarrassed, or they mistakenly believe that it s uncomfortable. If you could get those people in to their doctor to have one, it s a good thing.