Virtual colonoscopy a safe, effective alternative to traditional procedure for at-risk seniors, study finds

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Screening by virtual colonoscopy is just as effective and potentially safer than traditional screening methods for older patients at risk of colorectal cancer, according to a new report from the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health looked at the use of “computed tomographic colonography” (CTC) in 577 elderly patients for their study. During the study, researchers discovered that the colonoscopy referral rate was 15.3%, which is slightly lower than other Medicare-covered colorectal cancer screening exams. Also, the percentage of patients receiving workups on extracolonic findings was quite reasonable—only 7.8%, according to the report.

CTC is a safer alternative for seniors, as well, the results of the study suggest. Complications such as colon perforation were not associated with the procedure. The report appears in the February issue of the journal Radiology.