A “Virtual Colonoscopy” Isn’t Enough to Prevent Colon Cancer


ID-10088739At the Center for Colonoscopy Excellence (CCE), a division of San Francisco Gastroenterology, we understand that patients may consider a “virtual colonoscopy” instead of a regular one. A virtual colonoscopy is performed using an x-ray to examine a person’s colon. Images from the x-ray are then used to reconstruct a “virtual” tour of the colon.

This may sound a bit temptingthe benefit of having a physician examine your colon for potential health concerns without the supposed risk of discomfort most people seem to expect during a colonoscopy. However, a virtual colonoscopy simply does not replace a standard colonoscopy procedure.

Colonoscopies remain the gold standard for colon health. A virtual colonoscopy is not as reliable and accurate, not to mention the fact that if suspicious tissue was discovered during a virtual colonoscopy, your doctor would advise a regular colonoscopy for further screening regardless. This means that you would have to undergo the entire colonoscopy preparation process for a second time should anything requiring another screening be found.

Overall,a virtual colonoscopy may sound easier, but it’s not recommended by most gastroenterologists on its own. This is especially true for patients over 50 or those who are considered high risk for colon or rectal cancer, such as those with family or personal history of colon cancer and/or colon polyps.

In order to ease any concerns you may have about your comfort level or how invasive the procedure may be, we’ve outlined a few of the top facts on colonoscopies. If you are over 50, are high risk, or need to discuss certain colon polyp symptoms, please contact the Center for Colonoscopy Excellence (CCE) today.

CCE Colonoscopy Facts:

  • You will be comfortable during the colonoscopy procedure.
  • Our low volume prep solution is the most tolerable method of colonoscopy preparation.
  • We work with most major insurance carriers; however, if you do not have health insurance, our fees our lower on average than a hospital charge for the same procedure.
  • Those who are considered high risk for colon cancer are persons:
    • Age 50+ (45+ for African- Americans)
    • With personal or family history of colon cancer/colon polyps
    • With personal history of breast/uterine cancer
    • Who are overweight and/or are  smokers
    • With Type-2 diabetes
  • Our specialists have performed 20,000+ endoscopic procedures, placing them among the most experienced gastroenterologists in the San Francisco region.


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