Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Virtual Colonoscopy Use Increases in U.S. Hospitals

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This is a great development since although my conventional colonoscopy a few years ago was unremarkable and easily tolerable, more patients will likely be examined and more often - the procedure is just easier on you.
The use of virtual colonoscopies at U.S. hospitals is on the increase even though the procedure is not covered by Medicare, a new study finds.

Also referred to as computerized tomographic colonography (CTC), virtual colonoscopy uses virtual reality technology to provide doctors with a 3-D image that enables them to conduct an evaluation of the entire colon and rectum. CTC is an alternative to colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening.

An analysis of data from the American Hospital Association annual surveys showed that the use of CTC increased from 13 percent of hospitals in 2005 to 17 percent of hospitals in 2008. The researchers also found that 69 percent of hospitals that offered CTC in 2008 also offered standard colonoscopy.

Factors that motivated hospitals to offer CTC included: the desire to provide an alternative colorectal cancer screening option for frail, elderly patients and patients with failed colonoscopy; long wait times for colonoscopy; and promising evidence in published studies about CTC.

The study is published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
More patient acceptance means MORE early diagnosis of colon cancer and removal of precancerous polyps. An easier procedure (rather than sedating you and physically placing a camera up your anus) also means more frequent and regular screenings.

Believe me, patients will like the virtual colonoscopy better.

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