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CT Colonography (Virtual Colonography)

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Virtual colonography is an advanced and highly accurate screening method used to detect colon cancer. Safer, quicker and less invasive than conventional colonoscopy, this technique uses a 60 second CT scan of the abdomen, along with 3D reconstructed images, to view the inside of the colon.

The radiologist analyses these images to identify the presence of polyps in the colon. Polyps are small growths that may become cancerous if they are not removed.

According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, ‘…virtual colonography detected more than 90% of all significant polyps, performing slightly better than conventional colonoscopy.’

Virtual Colonography:

  • 1.5 inch long probe required for colon inflation
  • No risk of bowel perforation
  • Scan takes approximately 60 seconds
  • No sedation required
  • Little or no recovery time needed
  • Entire colon can be viewed

Conventional (Optical) Colonoscopy:

  • 6 foot long probe required for colon inflation
  • Small risk of bowel perforation
  • Procedure takes approximately 30 minutes
  • You may be sedated
  • Recovery time needed
  • May result in incomplete screening

Please note that virtual colonography is strictly a screening procedure. Because of its non-invasive nature, it is not possible to take tissue samples or remove polyps during the procedure. If evidence of polyps is found, you will be referred for a conventional colonoscopy.

Risk factors for developing colon cancer include age (men and women over 50), a family history of cancer, a diet high in fat and low in fibre and physical inactivity.

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