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Colonoscopy and Virtual Colonoscopy

Advantages and Disadvantages of A Virtual Colonoscopy

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Advantages of a virtual colonoscopy:

  • This test allows the doctor to view the rectum and the entire colon.
  • The test can identify polyps that are smaller than 5 millimeters before they turn into cancer.
  • Unlike a colonoscopy:
    • A virtual colonoscopy usually does not require sedation.
    • This is not an invasive procedure. As a result, there is no risk of bleeding or tearing of the lining of the colon.
  • Less risk of complications than a colonoscopy.

Disadvantages of a virtual colonoscopy:

  • This test may not detect all small polyps, nonpolypoid lesions, and cancers.
  • Thorough cleansing of the colon is necessary before the test.
  • Polyps cannot be removed during this procedure. If a polyp or nonpolypoid lesion 6 to 9 millimeters in size or larger is detected, a standard colonoscopy will be recommended to remove the polyp or lesion and to perform a biopsy. This usually occurs immediately after the virtual procedure.
  • May be expensive.

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