Virtual Colonoscopy on the Rise

A new study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology shows that the use of virtual colonoscopies at U.S. hospitals is increasing – even though the procedure is not covered by Medicare.

A neat feat of virtual colonoscopy is how the radiation dose associated with the exam has dropped considerably since it was introduced. Newer reconstruction techniques on newer CT scanners have made this possible.

While it is still true that Medicare will not pay for any type of screening (except mammography), some commercial insurance companies have realized the value of screening for colon cancer, particularly in high-risk patients. Screen CT colonography does well when compared to other tests for detecting colon tumors and polyps. And patient acceptance is higher because it is quick and less uncomfortable.