When you reach a certain age, your doctor will recommend you to see various specialists for various conditions. These appointments with different specialists are usually for the sole purpose of discovering any problems before they develop into a larger problem.
For instance, men are advised by their physician to have a prostate exam every couple of years after they reach the age of 50. This can also be said for other examinations to make sure the patient is healthy. These are known as preventative examinations.
One of these preventative examinations is the colonoscopy. The colonoscopy is used to exam the colon of a male for the development of any tumors, whether benign or malignant, or any other problems that could be developing within the colon and other organs of that area of the body. Once you reach the age of 50 a man will more than likely be recommended by their doctor to have a virtual colonoscopy performed.
This screening is used to prevent colorectal cancer, which is the second largest killer of people with cancer in the United States. Men and women are equally at risk to develop the disease.
Polyps can take years to develop into cancer and with a virtual colonoscopy doctors can discover these polyps and have them removed before they become cancerous and possible spread to other areas of the body. This procedure is fairly new in the medical field and is less invasive than a regular colonoscopy.
During a virtual colonoscopy the doctor takes hundreds of pictures of the abdomen without any invasive tools. The process also does not call for a patient to stay over in the hospital nor does it require any sedation.
The process is known as a scan and not a scope of the colon. Once the pictures are complete, a radiologist will examine them and inform the patient if they need to have a follow-up appointment. This appointment could be for a traditional colonoscopy.
A virtual colonoscopy procedure takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to complete and is done at a radiology department of a scan center. All patients of this procedure can resume their normal activities the day of the procedure but feel a sensation to use the bathroom or pass gas following the procedure because of the suction used during it.
This procedure is primarily designed to detect problems within the colon area but it is possible that problems outside the colon can be detected. If problems outside the colon are detected, they will more than likely be located in the pelvic area or the prostate.
A virtual colonoscopy can cost anywhere from $ 400-$ 800 and is currently not covered by insurance companies or Medicare programs. Having this procedure performed can help to save lives and medical costs.
If any polyps or problems are detected within the colon the patient will more than likely need to return for a traditional colonoscopy to clarify the situation. Having this procedure done when the physician recommends it can catch the development of cancer at an early stage or discover that there are no problems to be wary of.