Friday, August 16, 2013
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Santa Monica Virtual Colonoscopy Verse Traditional Colonoscopy
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Being such a prevalent disease, many procedures have been developed to target the disease, as well as who is at risk for it. The problem with colon cancer is that it is hard to diagnose. The signs and symptoms of colon cancer can go undetected for an extended period of time allowing the cancer to grow and metastasize. The best prognosis for those who are afflicted comes from early detection. Colonoscopy is a procedure which can check the intestines for signs of both cancerous and precancerous tumors.
Colonoscopy is a way to get a glimpse into the inside of the large intestine to check for the health of it. Polyps are growths in the intestine, that although can be benign, can be a signal that colon cancer is either in the pre-stage, or that there is cancerous growth elsewhere in the colon. A colonoscopy is a traditional procedure that uses a flexible scope passed through the entire colon to check for any polyps, precancerous, or cancerous growths.
Virtual colonoscopy in Santa Monica is different from traditional colonoscopy because it uses either CT imaging or magnetic resonance imaging to check for pre-cancer growth. Radiological images are used to reconstruct the nature of the large intestine and to create a three dimensional image of it. With this image, clinicians in Santa Monica can check for the presence of polyp growth. By using images, the physician in Santa Monica can make recommendations about whether invasive procedures are warranted and whether further testing needs to be done.
Virtual colonoscopy differs from traditional because of the non-invasiveness of it. The procedure does not involve the use of insertion of a camera and is done without any sedation. It also does not come with the same risks for perforation of the intestine that you have with a traditional scope. Since there is no invasion into the body, there are little to no risks associated with the procedure. There are also no risks associated with anesthesia as you would get from the traditional scope. It is ideal for people who have had a history of problems with anesthesia, or who are medically fragile, instead of subjecting them to the invasiveness of traditional colonoscopy.
The disadvantages to virtual colonoscopy in Santa Monica is that it is not as thorough as you would get form a traditional scope. There is no way for the clinician in Santa Monica to physically see what is going on the intestine. Although an image is created in virtual colonoscopy, it is not as good as actually physically seeing what the tissue looks like, or what the polyps look like. Also, if polyps are identified in virtual colonoscopy, there is no way to biopsy them without traditional scoping. Although being a viable alternative to evaluate for precancerous growth, if any is indicated, a traditional scope must be done anyway.
If a virtual colonoscopy in Santa Monica is performed the patient is subjected to the radiation you would receive from a CT scan, which is substantial, so although something that can be done on occasion, it is not a good practice on a continual basis for the risks associated with radiation. Also, there is more of a chance that cancer growth will be missed because subtle changes to the tissue or small polyps inside of the intestine can not be seen with a radiology scan.
Another disadvantage may involve the cost of virtual colonoscopy as it may not be covered by insurance. As traditional colonoscopy is still the gold standard for colon screening, some insurance companies will only cover a virtual colonoscopy if a patient is medically unable to have a traditional colonoscopy.