Virtual Colonoscopy. Try It. You Might Like It.
A virtual colonoscopy might sound like a magical ability to have your colon checked through the Internet. While we’re not quite there (yet), the reason it’s called a virtual colonoscopy is because it uses elements of digital technology. In this regard, it’s a digital scan of your colon to help determine if you have polyps or cancer.
Many patients who have had it one report that it is much more comfortable than a traditional colonoscopy, also known as an optical colonoscopy. One note however, virtual colonoscopy is not recommended for routine colon screening. It is used only in special situations, such as if patients refuse to have a traditional colon exam or are unable to do so.
What Is A Virtual Colonoscopy?
Your proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, may recommend a virtual colonoscopy if you simply can’t stand the thought of the traditional method of having a tube placed into the entire length of your colon, even if you are sedated. The virtual method can help check out problems if you’ve recently experienced a change in your bowel habits, have recurring abdominal pain, excessive bleeding from the rectal area, or if you have unexplained weight loss.
While it is recommended that a regular colonoscopy be done to detect pre-cancerous polyps or catch cancer, virtual colonoscopies can still detect almost as much as the standard procedure can. Even if both procedures aren’t 100% perfect in visualizing everything, they help enough to the point that colon cancer threats can be averted if polyps are found.
When you decide on this procedure, the process itself is relatively easy. It’s what happens beforehand where you’ll have most of the work cut out for you.
You’ll have two key things to do at home the night before the procedure takes place.
They may be a little inconvenient but it is best to remember that they are temporary. A bowel preparation is going to be needed, which means taking a laxative before bedtime. This will allow you to have a “clean” colon for the procedure. Along with this, you’ll need to have a clear liquid diet the day before the examination.
You’ll also need to consume a contrast medium as part of your liquid diet. This is liquid with dye so the imaging can help determine the difference between stool and polyps in your colon.
During the procedure, you’ll merely recline on a table while the radiologist inserts a thin tube into your rectum that gently inflates your large intestine. Despite sounding unpleasant, it doesn’t cause excessive pain and typically doesn’t require an anesthetic. You will then slide into the CT scanner for the imaging of your colon. You may have to turn on your side or stomach so the radiologist can view numerous angles.
Are Patients Finding Virtual Colonoscopies More Comfortable?
According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, studies clearly showed that a virtual colonoscopy helped to identify 90% of precancerous or cancerous polyps in the colon. That’s why it is worth talking to your doctor about having a virtual colonoscopy.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The health of your colon is important. At Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, your physicians will discuss all aspects of your care and will answer all of your questions. You can schedule a confidential appointment by calling (310)273-2310.