Three-dimensional virtual colonoscopy is an accurate screening method for colorectal cancer, reported a study published in the November issue of the journal Radiology, which may encourage more people to be screened for colorectal cancer – the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States.
Virtual colonoscopy is less invasive than optical colonoscopy and produces precise and detailed 3-D “fly-through” images of the entire colon’s interior without having to insert a scope. In addition, the first study of the results of virtual colonoscopies paid for by insurance found that only 6.4 percent of patients required follow-up with optical colonoscopy. The combination of positive test results, reimbursement and the minimally invasiveness of the procedure may be a catalyst for more people to get screening for a disease that is largely preventable through screening for colon polyps.
“Our positive experience with virtual colonoscopy screening covered by health insurance demonstrates its enormous potential for increasing compliance for colorectal cancer prevention and screening,” said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., associate professor of radiology at The University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. “In addition, recent technical improvements have resulted in even better performance results.”
Dr. Pickhardt added, “Our goal is not to take patients away from existing strategies like optical colonoscopy, but rather to attract those who are currently not being screened at all.”

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