Virtual Colonoscopy Procedures Rise in U.S.

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The number of people having virtual colonoscopies is on the rise, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The procedure is known as a computed tomographic colonography, or CTC.

It's not covered by Medicare, but researchers found that the number of hospitals using CTC rose 5 percent in three years.

'Our study is unique in that we show expansion even in the absence of Medicare reimbursement for CTC for general screening. CTC's relatively easy implementation coupled with patient acceptance makes CTC a tool that holds promise for the future of colorectal cancer prevention,' said Megan McHugh, PhD, lead author of the study.

CTC is a minimally invasive alternative to a typical colonoscopy. It uses virtual reality technology to provide doctors with a 3D view of the entire colon.

The procedure has proven to be as accurate as standard colonoscopy at detecting clinically significant lesions in average risk patients. It is also endorsed by the American Cancer Society as a recommended colon cancer screening test.

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