- Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Colonoscopy
- Advantages and Disadvantages of A Virtual Colonoscopy
- Preparation For a Colonoscopy, a Virtual Colonoscopy (and a Sigmoidoscopy)
- How A Colonoscopy Is Performed
- After A Colonoscopy
- How A Virtual Colonoscopy Is Performed
- After A Virtual Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy and Virtual Colonoscopy
There are two types of colonoscopy. A traditional colonoscopy (generally referred to just as a "Colonoscopy") and a virtual colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test to determine if you have cancer or other non-cancerous conditions in your colon or rectum.
During a colonoscopy, the rectum and entire colon are examined using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope which is inserted into the anus and passed through the entire length of the colon through the valve that connects the large and small intestines. The difference between a colonoscopy and another common diagnostic test known as a sigmoidoscopy, is that the sigmoidoscopy only reaches the end of the colon and rectum.
- A colonoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing.
- During a colonoscopy, precancerous and cancerous growths throughout the colon can be located, removed, and biopsied.
- A thorough cleansing of the colon is necessary before this test. For information about preparing for a colonoscopy, click here.
- Most patients are sedated for the procedure.
If the results of the colonoscopy are normal, and you do not carry any genetic predispositions for coclorectal cancer, it is usually recommended that the test be performed every 10 years "just in case." Otherwise it will be recommended that the test be performed more often.
- For the advantages and disadvantages of a colonoscopy, click here.
- For information about preparing for a colonoscopy, click here
- For information about how a colonoscopy is performed, click here..
- For information about what happens after a colonoscopy, click here.
- It is advisable to keep to the suggested test schedule. If colorectal cancer occurs, the earlier it is detected, the more likely a person will survive. To help you remember the schedule, ask the person close to you who is good at such things to help you keep track and/or set an alert in your computer.
- For additional information about al colonoscopy not contained in this document, see the publication: Colonoscopy For Dummies .
The following image of a colonoscopy is courtesy of the National Cancer Institute:
Virtual colonoscopy (also known as “Computed Tomographic Colonoscopy” “Colonography” or “CT colonography”)
A virtual colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a series of x-rays called computed tomography (also known as a CT scan) to make a series of pictures of the colon. A computer puts the pictures together to create detailed images that may show polyps and anything else that seems unusual on the inside surface of the colon.
A thorough cleansing of the colon is necessary before this test, just like with a colonoscopy.
Unlike a regular colonoscopy, patients do not receive sedation.
Clinical trials are currently comparing virtual colonoscopy with commonly used colorectal cancer screening tests. Other clinical trials are testing whether drinking a contrast material (a dye or other substance that helps show abnormal areas inside the body) coating the stool, instead of using a laxative to clear the colon, will show polyps clearly.
A virtual colonoscopy is usually performed every 5 years.
- For the advantages and disadvantages of a virtual colonoscopy, click here.
- For information about preparing for a virtual colonoscopy, click here
- For information about how a virtual colonoscopy is performed, click here.
- For information about what happens after a virtual colonoscopy, click here.
- If you schedule a colonoscopy for the first day of your work week, you do not lose any work time while doing the prep.
- For additional information about Virtual Colonoscopy not contained in this document, see the publication: Colonoscopy For Dummies .
- It is advisable to keep to the schedule your doctor recommends for periodic colonoscopies. The earlier colorectal cancer is detected, the more likely a person will survive. To help you remember the schedule, consider the following ideas:
- Write the dates on your calendar.
- Ask a person close to you who is good at such things to help you keep track.
- Set an alert in your computer.