Each year, approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with a very common and serious disease - colon cancer. Colon cancer usually develops within benign growths called polyps, which arise from the colon wall. If polyps are detected early, removing them stops development of the cancer. The current standard technique for finding and removing polyps is endoscopy, a procedure in which a long, flexible tube is inserted into the colon, allowing a doctor to search for and remove polyps. Hartford Hospital offers virtual colonoscopy as an option when an incomplete colonoscopy has been performed or the patient cannot have a colonoscopy.
Virtual colonoscopy is much less invasive, requiring only a small rubber tip that is placed in the rectum to gently introduce air to inflate the colon. Most patients report that virtual colonoscopy is more comfortable than either barium enema or conventional colonoscopy. Hartford Hospital’s Department of Radiology has been offering 3-D Virtual Colonoscopy since 2002. Our highly-trained staff has extensive experience in performing 3-D virtual colonoscopy, ensuring the optimum in patient comfort and high quality results. Our radiologists have unsurpassed expertise in the interpretation of 3-D virtual colonoscopy.
A polyp can form at any time throughout life, but most commonly occurs in people over the age of 50. Most polyps grow slowly, and the risk that cancer will be found in a polyp is substantial only for polyps at least one half-inch (1 cm) in size. If your virtual colonoscopy shows no polyps, we will usually recommend that you wait five years before having another virtual colonoscopy or as recommended by your doctor.