Computerized imaging in the form of CT (computerized topography) scans provides a way for medical teams to explore the inner depths of the body without having to put a patient through lengthy, painful, costly exploratory surgery. In fact, imaging has changed the way that we are able to detect and diagnose a variety of diseases. This ability to offer an alternative to traditional methods of investigation into the inner workings of the body has saved patients time, money, and a considerable amount of discomfort. Plus, if disease is confirmed it is done so quickly – providing patients and their doctors much more lead time in determining an appropriate course of treatment and implementing that treatment.
One of the ways in which CT imaging has changed the course of diagnosis is with regard to colorectal disease. Traditionally, screenings for colorectal cancer, as well as evidence of polyps (abnormal growths that can signify the presence of or potential for colon cancer) is the colonoscopy. During a traditional colonoscopy, an endoscope is inserted into the colon while the patient is under sedation, so that the inside of the colon can be examined. Now, advanced imaging has provided another option for screenings through the computed tomographic colonography or CTC.
During a CTC, images are taken of the colon wall which allows doctors to determine if polyps exist. It has been shown that such imaging is just as effective as colonoscopies for detection of polyps and allows for a few added benefits including:
- There is no need for the patient to be sedated for a CTC scan. This is a painless procedure for which patients can be fully awake, thereby eliminating the need for sedatives or recovery time.
- There are no complications associated with the CTC procedure. Colonoscopy is a highly effective scanning procedure but there are risks associated with it. In addition to the potential for a reaction to the sedative itself, there is also the risk for perforation to the colon wall as well as subsequent bleeding from any location from which tissue is removed for examination.
A CTC is just one more option for staying on top of colorectal health and ensuring that there is no presence of disease or any other conditions about which you and your doctor should be aware.