Virtual Colonoscopy is an innovative, non-invasive and advanced method for screening colon cancer. This examination can detect quickly, in a safe manner and without sedation, pre-cancerous and cancerous growths in the colon and rectum.
Using high-resolution ultra-fast computed tomography (CT-scan), several 3D images of the inside of the colon and rectum are obtained, allowing the visualizing on screen of the intestinal wall and precise navigation in specific areas. The data obtained are reconstructed using a specialized computer software that generates images similar to endoscopic colonoscopy * (conventional).
Given the invasive nature of traditional colonoscopy, several patients are reluctant to undergo screening for colon cancer. Virtual colonoscopy is an interesting and valid alternative. It is recommended to consider virtual colonoscopy as a primary diagnostic method to guide patients who need further diagnosis and direct them to traditional therapeutic colonoscopy.
Dr Larry Stein, says; “We hope that this innovative, reliable and less invasive solution for colon cancer screening will encourage more people to get tested.”
Benefits of virtual colonoscopy:
- Detects over 90% of all significant polyps.
- Requires no sedation.
- Better tolerated and faster than conventional colonoscopy.
- Risk of perforation is extremely rare.
- Significantly superior to barium enema with respect to screening for pre-cancerous lesions (as demonstrated by several studies).
The main indications for virtual colonoscopy:
- Complement of an incomplete conventional colonoscopy.
- Screening for colon cancer (alternative to conventional colonoscopy).
Colon cancer is a very devastating cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the population. It is manifested by a lesion, at first benign, measuring just a few millimeters, which grows slowly and can grow for several years before becoming a 1cm or larger polyp, or before becoming cancer. So this examination is used to detect small benign lesions called polyps which can be removed (by traditional optical colonoscopy), thus preventing the cancer.
Usually a virtual colonoscopy lasts about 30 minutes for the visit. However, only 10 minutes are spent in the CT-scan room.
Patients lie on their back on an examination table. The technician inserts a thin tube (rectal probe) of 1.5 inches long in the anus and the rectum to inject carbon dioxide (CO2) to allow the expansion of the colon and thus, better visualization. This can cause a sensation of bloating in the abdomen. Then, the table slides through the CT-scan for a few seconds and several images are collected. The procedure is repeated with the patient lying prone or turned sideways. After the test, the radiologist evaluates the results to identify anomalies in the colon and in the adjacent organs.
Virtual Colonoscopy requires a special preparation, designed to empty the bowel. A diet low in residues begins two days before the examination and a liquid diet is required the day before the appointment. The patient must also take laxatives, barium or iodine orally. We provide the barium and iodine. The examination, with a total duration of 30 minutes, takes place on the third day.
Everything is explained when making the appointment.
The patient must also take laxatives, barium or iodine orally. We provide the barium and iodine. The examination, with a total duration of 30 minutes, takes place on the third day.
by the RAMQ