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Virtual Colonoscopy- What is it and should you do it ?
November, 2004


Manu patients ask about the option of a "virtual" exam instead of the unpleasant Colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are performed by Gastroenterologists using a long flexible optic fiber tube via your rectum, and sliding it until the beginning of the colon ( large intestine ) at the Cecum.

In Israel the exam is usually done on an ambulatory basis, usually in community "Gastro" clinics. The patient is conscious; but usually receives some relaxant medications before the procedure. The exam is not painful for most patients. The gastroenterologist pumps air into the intestine during the exam to see the walls better. This may be unpleasant or even a bit painful for some. The exam lasts less than ten minutes. If a "polyp" is found, it is usually removed during the procedure, and sent for a pathological exam. In other countries, a Colonoscopy may be done under general anesthesia.

An annoying preparation is necessary for the Colonoscopy, virtual or regular. In order to see the intestinal walls, the intestine must be "clean" ( feces-free ). A low residue diet is maintained for a few days; with a fluid-only diet on the last 24 hours prior to the exam. A strong laxative is taken the night before the exam and then again in the morning, and an enema given a couple hours before. ( The exact preparation may vary from doctor to doctor, and you will be given written instructions from the gastroenterologist ). Most patients report that the preparation was more difficult than the Colonoscopy itself.

What is the "Virtual Colonoscopy" ?

A virtual Colonoscopy uses a CT Scan coupled with a computer program to "recreate" a 3-D picture of your intestines that enables the doctor to cruise through a "virtual" colon. It is only done privately; the Kupot Holim ( HMO's ) do not participate in the costs. Some private health insurance policies cover this exam. Check with your insurance agent. The same preparation is necessary for the Virtual Colonoscopy.

1. Private: costs about 200$
2. Same unpleasant preparation required
3. If a polyp is seen ( about a 40% chance ) than a regular Colonoscopy is required to remove the polyp.
4. Radiation: Using the CT exposes the patient to a large dose of x-rays.

If you would like more information you can contact Assuta 03-5645858

Swallowing A Capsule Camera

Another technology available is one developed in Israel. It involves swallowing a disposable digital camera that takes thousands of pictures of your gastrointestinal tract. This technology is very important in visualizing the small intestine, as we have no other technique to see this area. This can be very helpful in patients with GI bleeding; or inflammatory disease. It is not useful for a routine screening test.

This exam is only done privately. It costs about 1000$

The Israeli company "Givenimaging" is based in Yokneam Elite 04 9097777.

The exam is currently done in ten locations in Israel.
Beilenson Hospital 03 9377242
Asaf Harofe 08 9779722
Ichilov Hospital 03 6974281
Rambam Hospital 04 8542887
Tel Hashomer Hospital 03 5302679


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