Colon cancer is the second most frequent kind of cancer after lung cancer. In the year 2003, 3,200 new cases of colon cancer were detected in Israeland this number is steadily increasing.
Colon cancer is most frequent in people over 50.
In this form of cancer, early diagnosis is of paramount importance, because in most cases colonic cancer usually develops from polyps - small benign growths that originate from the bowel mucosa.
Early detection of the disease and possibly early visualization of such polyps enables their removal and can be life saving!
Virtual colonoscopy is an examination that enables evaluation of the colon without inserting a colonoscope (a long tube with a camera attached to the end). The examination requires preparation of the bowel with purgatives and an appropriate diet for two days preceding the examination. Virtual colonoscopy is performed with the aid of computerized tomography (CT), using X-rays for the creation of images. The patient lies on the bed in the CT machine and images from the inside of his body are reconstructed by a computer. As a result, two-dimensional and even three-dimensional pictures of the bowel can be viewed.
These pictures are interpreted by an experienced radiologist in an attempt to identify polyps or other phenomena. If a polyp or tumor is identified, the patient is referred for a conventional colonoscopy (performed by a gastroenterologist) for further diagnosis and removal of the finding.This examination is not included in the "health basket".
Who is this examination designed for?
For patients aged 40 or over with risk factors for colon cancer
For patients aged 50 or over without risk factors for colon cancer
For patients with symptoms that may be suspect of colon cancer, such as: changes in their bowel movement routine (newly occurring constipation, soft stools), anemia, blood in stool and others.
The efficacy of the examination:
According to relevant literature, the sensitivity of this examination is 95% for identification of polyps larger than 10 mm, and about 70% for polyps 6-9 mm in size. In contrast to conventional colonoscopy, even a very tortuous colon can be evaluated, whereas with the conventional colonoscopy procedure there is a limited possibility of passing narrow sites.
Is it possible to evaluate all abdominal organs with this examination?
The examination enables the evaluation of all abdominal and pelvic organs, but there is a certain limitation. Contrast medium is not administered orally or intravenously and the radiation amount is much lower than that used in conventional abdominal CT (two to three times lower than usual).
In the recently performed virtual colonoscopies, in approximately 23% of all examined patients, clinically significant findings were demonstrated in various body and abdominal organs. Among such findings were: lung cancer, ovarian cancer, lymph node cancer, renal calculi, prostatic hypertrophy, degenerative changes of the vertebral spine and others.
Course of the examination
Prior to the examination, the doctor will ask you several questions and will explain the course of this examination. Upon entering the examination room, you will be asked to wear a gown and will be placed on the CT bed. A thin, soft, flexible tube lubricated with an anesthetic ointment will be gently introduced into the rectum for pumping air into the bowel. Air will be pumped gently while the patient lies on his /her side. Once the inflation is completed, the examination is performed by the CT machine while the patient is lying on his/her back or stomach. This double examination is performed in order to move stool remnants or fluid that may be present in the bowel and may obstruct pathological findings. During the course of the examination, the radiologist will view the pictures and decide whether a contrast medium should be injected intravenously, if this be necessary in order to interpret the images.
How long does the examination take?
The examination itself lasts only a few minutes, but the time required for your stay in the examination room is about 15 – 30 minutes. If iodine containing contrast medium is used, copious drinking is recommended during that day. You will also be asked to stay for an additional 30 minutes for observation to make sure that no delayed allergic reaction to iodine appears.
How soon after the examination may I resume normal work activities?
Because, unlike a conventional colonoscopy, there is no need for sedative drugs to be administered, normal daily activities may be resumed without limitation immediately after the examination. A sensation of pressure and slight discomfort is possible due to the inflation of the bowel by air. Food and beverage intake following the examination is as before.
When are the results expected?
Because the examination is not classified as urgent and the information is very extensive (about 1,000 images of 1 mm thick sections) the results are not provided immediately. Therefore after the examination we will invite you for coffee and cake or you may stroll around Ramat Aviv mall. After the images have been interpreted, you will return to discuss the results with the radiologist.
Doctors who perform the examination:
Dr. Arik Blashar – Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology, Director of the CT Institute, graduate of 2-year specialization in Pittsburgh, USA
Dr. Michal Amittai - Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology, graduate of 2-year specialization inToronto, Canada
Dr. Lior Koppel -Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology, graduate of 1-year specialization in Boston, USA
Our doctors have extensive experience in hundreds of virtual colonoscopy examinations.
For further details and clarifications please call: