Cooper Clinic Offers Standalone Colonoscopy
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20-minute screening procedure should attract reluctant patients
and complement traditional procedure
Cooper Clinic, a comprehensive preventive medicine center, which has incorporated virtual colonoscopy into its comprehensive examination services for some time, will now offer the exam as a stand-alone procedure.
Utilizing FDA-approved, low-radiation, Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) technology, the virtual colonoscopy will provide area residents with a minimally invasive complement to traditional examinations for the early detection and prevention of colon cancer.
"The accuracy of virtual colonoscopy has improved significantly in recent years, and it is rapidly gaining acceptance as a complement – and sometimes an appropriate alternative – to traditional colonoscopy," said Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, founder, president and CEO of Cooper Clinic. "We believe very strongly in the power and safety of ultra fast EBT scanning technology."
Recent statistics from the American Cancer Society show there are more than 147,000 new cases and 57,000 deaths annually from colorectal cancer. And even though colon cancer is about 90 percent curable when detected early, only about 25 percent of "at risk" Americans are actually getting any type of screening. Cooper anticipates the availability of virtual colonoscopy in one of the highest quality preventive medicine clinics in the nation will ultimately benefit thousands of Dallas Metroplex residents who have been avoiding such examinations.
The traditional colonoscopy exam is an invasive procedure conducted under sedation involving a bowel preparation and the insertion of a 5-foot flexible fiber optic scope. It requires a few hours at the facility, whereupon the patient must be driven home to fully recover. The virtual colonoscopy (which also requires bowel prep), however, only takes about 20 minutes, and patients can return to normal activities immediately.
"Virtual colonoscopy is now much closer to achieving status as an ideal screening test," said Cooper. "Because of the fear factor associated with traditional colonoscopies, the virtual procedure has the potential to increase the now dismal rate of colon cancer screenings. Still, it's not for everyone, and we'll screen patients carefully to determine if it's appropriate for them to choose the virtual procedure."
While virtual colonoscopy is usually not covered by insurance, many private insurance companies are reimbursing for virtual colonoscopy when it is performed for specific reasons.
It begins with a pre-exam bowel prep and inflating the colon with air using a thin rubber tube. Thin-section spiral CT scans of the abdomen are then taken and processed via virtual reality software into two- and three-dimensional reconstructions. This allows an interactive virtual "fly through" of the entire colon surface in both directions. Board certified radiologists review the images and create a detailed report for the patient and referring doctor.
Even though the virtual procedure cannot be used for the removal of polyps found during the exam, there is only about a 10 percent chance that any individual patient will have to return for a colonoscopy to remove such a lesion. With good planning, a virtual colonoscopy and polyp removal through conventional colonoscopy can actually be done on the same day, avoiding the need to repeat the bowel preparation.
For more information about Cooper Clinic's virtual colonoscopy procedure, call 972.560.2667 or click here.