Monday, July 26, 2010

Virtual Colonoscopy Procedure

Learn All About A Virtual Colonoscopy Procedure.

A colonoscopy is a procedure in which the colon and rectum are examined to locate inflamed tissues, abnormal growths, ulcers, and most importantly it is used to detect early signs of colon cancer. This procedure is a very imporant cancer screening tool for men, especially those over the age of 50. Unfortunately, a colonoscopy is very unpleasant for many patients and they tend to forgo this vital screening test in favor of their own personal comfort.

However, with the advances in medical science and technology, there is a new, less invasive procedure: the virtual colonoscopy procedure! What is the virtual colonoscopy procedure? The virtual colonoscopy procedure is a procedure in which a long, flexible tube is inserted into the rectum via the anus that delivers carbon dioxide or a contrast media into the colon to inflate it. Then either through CT or MRI machines, pictures are taken of the colon. What is the difference between the virtual colonoscopy procedure and a traditonal colonoscopy? Unlike a traditional colonoscopy, the virtual colonoscopy procedure doesn't require sedation and is a much shorter procedure, typically lasting only 10 minutes.

Like the traditional colonoscopy, a scope is inserted into the anus up to the rectum but not into the colon. The patient is passed through a CT or MRI machine which essentially takes pictures of the colon allowing the doctor to see the colon as a computer generated, three-dimensional view. What are the advantages of the virtual colonoscopy procedure? 1. Time: As mentioned above, the main advantages of this procedure is that it only takes 10 minutes. 2. No Sedation: This procedure doesn't require sedation which allows the patient to return to work or other activities immediately after the procedure. 3. Comfort: As opposed to a tube being inserted into the entire length of the colon, it is only inserted as far as the rectum which results in the patient being more comfortable during the procedure. 4. Better Image: A virtual colonoscopy procedure allows for a more clear and detailed picture of the colon. What are the disadvantages of the virtual colonoscopy procedure? 1. Insertion of Scope: Similar to the traditional colonoscopy, there is still a need for a scope to be inserted into the anus, which is still painful and uncomfortable. 2. Cost: The cost for this procedure is high and many insurance companies are not willing to pay for it. 3. Availability: Being that this procedure is still fairly new, it is not widely available to many people. 4. Detection & Removal: Due to the nature of the virtual colonoscopy procedure, if a polyp or abnormal growth is detected it cannot be immediately removed. A traditional colonoscopy will have to be scheduled to remove any abnormalities. Additionally, this procedure does not have the ability to detect anything smaller than 10 millimeters in size.

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