Study: Virtual colonoscopy effective at detecting polyps

A new study suggests that virtual colonoscopies are as effective as traditional colonoscopies at detecting large and medium-sized polyps that can be precursors to colon cancer, a conclusion that supports much broader use of this approach, the authors said.

Virtual colonoscopies involve a CT scan of the lower body, which unlike traditional colonoscopies, don't require anesthesia and aren't invasive. They're also much less expensive than the standard procedure, since there's no need for an anesthesiologist or pathologist to be present. Not only that, the use of virtual colonoscopies might help boost the number of people getting the procedure, which could have an impact on colon cancer detection overall, as traditional ones are so uncomfortable that many people avoid getting them, researchers said.

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 2,600 men and women tested at 15 medical centers, all of which got both a virtual and a standard colonoscopy. Researchers concluded that the virtual tests found 90 percent of large polyps or cancers found through traditional colonoscopies, a result that confirms earlier results from prior studies.

To get more information on virtual vs. traditional colonoscopies:
- read this piece from the Chicago Tribune

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