3D virtual colonoscopy screening quick, effective and patient-friendly alternative to traditional colonoscopy

Southfield 16 January 2003EBT-Heart and Body Imaging has introduced the new virtual colonoscopy procedure for colon cancer screening to the Detroit, Michigan area. The test uses FDA-approved, low radiation, electron beam tomography (EBT) combined with advanced workstations to create a high-tech 3D fly-through of the large intestine.


"You can't force people to get a traditional colonoscopy", stated EBT-Heart and Body Medical Director Dr. Marc Kahn. "That's why virtual colonoscopy is catching on; it doesn't have the fear factor associated with it. It's simply a better test in most cases and one that continues to gain acceptance in the medical community and with the public."

While traditional colonoscopy is preferable under certain circumstances and offers the capability of immediate removal of discovered polyps, Dr. Kahn noted that the virtual colonoscopy has a lot to offer patients, doctors, and insurers. He pointed to a growing body of evidence that virtual colonoscopy will soon become a primary method for colorectal cancer screening.

"Research continues to show that virtual colonoscopy is much closer to being an ideal screening test, with a lighter prep, no risks, a more comprehensive view of the colon and immediate return to normal activities", stated Dr. Kahn, "so patients and their physicians need to be aware of the important comparative advantage that the virtual colonoscopy procedure offers."

EBT-Heart and Body has compared virtual colonoscopy with traditional colonoscopy:

Virtual Colonoscopy Traditional Colonoscopy
Diagnostic Power Sees 100 percent of the interior and exterior colon. Reaches the caecum universally. Detects hard to find superficial (flat) lesions as well as conventional colonoscopy. Typically only sees about 80 percent of the interior of the colon, as total "reverse navigation" is not possible. Reaches the caecum about 95 percent of time.
Procedure A miniature rubber tube is inserted two inches by the client or a technician. This device allows painless CO2 gas to expand the colon for easy viewing. Telescope tube of 1,5 inches in diameter travels five feet into large intestine
Complications Zero risk of perforation or serious complications Possibility of perforation (1 in 1500) or serious complications
Anaesthesia No anaesthesia necessary Must receive anaesthesia with associated risks and need for monitoring
Recovery Can resume normal activity immediately Must recover from the anaesthesia and cannot drive following the procedure
Preparation More gentle bowel preparations and shorter special diet because computer can electronically "cleanse" residue stool Bowel must be vigorously cleansed, typically involving large volumes of unpalatable solutions. Longer special-prep diet to allow proper viewing.
Time Required 20 minutes Half day at a surgical centre/clinic, bed rest to follow
Cost About $750 Usually more than $1200

Dr. Kahn noted that virtual colonoscopy actually costs significantly less than traditional colonoscopy and it is starting to be covered by more insurance providers.

EBT-Heart and Body Imaging serves the Greater Detroit Community with state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technology. Located in Southfield, Michigan, the facility offers lung, heart, and full body scans as well as virtual colonoscopy and traditional CT scanning.

Leslie Versweyveld

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