A 3-D virtual colonoscopy - a quicker, less-invasive version of the conventional screening test - is an option for patients and doctors to consider. Using an imaging technique known as computed tomography and virtual reality computer software, physicians can view and evaluate detailed images of the inside of the colon and rectum.
"Virtual colonoscopy is designed to take some of the fear or intimidation out of the exam," says Dr. Cecelia Brewington, vice chair of imaging services at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "The procedure typically lasts about 15 minutes and does not require sedation or insertion of a scope into the colon."
Dr. Brewington, a professor of radiology at the medical center, says the 3-D test is nearly as accurate as an invasive colonoscopy and can detect polyps bigger than 10 millimeters (0.39 inches) with 90 percent accuracy.
The virtual procedure, however, is not recommended for patients who have been previously diagnosed with polyps or colon cancer.
Visit UTSW Medicine at www.utswmedicine.org/cancer to learn more about clinical services for cancer at UT Southwestern. For more about imaging clinical services at UT Southwestern, visit UTSW Medicine atwww.utswmedicine.org/
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
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