Research: Virtual Colonoscopy only for some patients

As an alternative to traditional colonscopy for some, Virtual Colonoscopy may be acceptable, but not for all, such as patients with a higher-than-normal risk for colorectal cancer, suggests a new research. It is seen as a noninvasive screening method, which has identified 85% of suspicious growths in people who had elevated risks for colorectal cancer with use of X-rays and computers to produce 3-D images of the colon, described the newly published study conducted in Italy. However, critics contend the virtual colonoscopy, known medically as computed tomographic (CT) colonography explaining that it makes little sense for those at high risk for developing colorectal cancer.

A major drawback of virtual colonscopy is that it can only be used to detect growths and other procedure needs to be followed to remove the same. While traditional method can be used for both detection and removal. High-risk populations are far more likely to have suspicious growths that need to be removed, pointed out Douglas Rex, MD, FACP, Indiana University Hospital Director of Endoscopy. He mentioned that a technique used only for diagnosis makes a little sense. The study, which appears in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, makes it clear that people with a positive FOBT are not appropriate candidates for virtual colonoscopy, colorectal surgeon Emily Finlayson, MD, tells WebMD. She added, that the test is also not for patients with inflammatory bowel disease or those with a history of flat polyps, which are often missed with virtual colonoscopy.

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