The virtual colonoscopy research program, led by Dr. Perry Pickhardt of the Abdominal Imaging Section, was featured in the latest edition of the UW employee newsletter, InsideUW , and on UWHealth.org. The virtual colonoscopy program at UW—Madison is currently the largest in the country, and was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top programs in the nation.
Virtual colonoscopy is a minimally invasive, relatively new technique used by radiologists and gastroenterologists to image the colon without the need for pain medication and sedation for the patient. This procedure involves computer software creating a 3-D image of the colon, instead of inserting a camera. Then, if polyps (growths) are detected, a regular optical colonoscopy will be performed in order to remove them and further diagnose the patient.
What makes virtual colonoscopy so powerful is that it not only produces an image the colon, but it also gives radiologists a chance to look around in the pelvis and abdomen for other abnormalities. This is extremely important because it has the potential to detect other life-threatening conditions that are not found in optical colonoscopy procedures.