24 doctors weighed in:
I feel colonoscopy is invasive. Are there less embarrassing ways to look for colonic polyps?
24 doctors weighed in

Dr. Donald Kim
Surgery - Colorectal
4 doctors agree
In brief: Possibly
For a full evaluation of your colon, a virtual colonoscopy or ct colonography may be an option.
This is a specialized examination using the ct scanner performed by certain centers. Ask your doctor if this option is available in your area.

In brief: Possibly
For a full evaluation of your colon, a virtual colonoscopy or ct colonography may be an option.
This is a specialized examination using the ct scanner performed by certain centers. Ask your doctor if this option is available in your area.
Dr. Donald Kim
Dr. Donald Kim
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Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Yes
Patients can also undergo a special CT scan-also known as virtual colonoscopy to look for colon polyps.
Unfortunately, if one sees polyps on virtual colonoscopy, then one still needs to undergo the real colonoscopy to remove them.

In brief: Yes
Patients can also undergo a special CT scan-also known as virtual colonoscopy to look for colon polyps.
Unfortunately, if one sees polyps on virtual colonoscopy, then one still needs to undergo the real colonoscopy to remove them.
Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree
In brief: Yes
A virtual colonoscopy/ct scan can be less embarrassing but this technique will never be the gold standard.
In addition to what has already been stated by my colleagues about having to go through a regular colonoscopy if there are findings, the most common complaint i hear is the prep, which is the same for either procedure. The virtual may be better for low risk patients who still want to know.

In brief: Yes
A virtual colonoscopy/ct scan can be less embarrassing but this technique will never be the gold standard.
In addition to what has already been stated by my colleagues about having to go through a regular colonoscopy if there are findings, the most common complaint i hear is the prep, which is the same for either procedure. The virtual may be better for low risk patients who still want to know.
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
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Dr. Kenneth Adler
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
An alternative is a virtual colnonscopy but this still involves having a catheter inserted into your rectum to inject dye followed by a ct scan.
Stool blood testing can be done but it is nonspecific. Positive stool blood testing commonly leads to colonoscopies. Remember you are "asleep" for a colonoscopy.

In brief: Yes
An alternative is a virtual colnonscopy but this still involves having a catheter inserted into your rectum to inject dye followed by a ct scan.
Stool blood testing can be done but it is nonspecific. Positive stool blood testing commonly leads to colonoscopies. Remember you are "asleep" for a colonoscopy.
Dr. Kenneth Adler
Dr. Kenneth Adler
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Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
Sure you can do a virtual - but if you find something that needs a biopsy - its back to the prep and then get ready for the scope - so might as well get over it and do it right the first time -.

In brief: Yes
Sure you can do a virtual - but if you find something that needs a biopsy - its back to the prep and then get ready for the scope - so might as well get over it and do it right the first time -.
Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
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1 comment
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
While virtual can be done, there is added expense, x-ray exposure; it is not as accurate (higher false negative rate), and as Dr Leibowitz says, if postive you need the scope anyway. And the occult blood test may "catch" most cases. Virtual is high tech, but costly without medical necessity
Dr. Don W Hodson
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
Virtual colonoscopy is less "invasive" but requires a similar prep procedure and requires a direct colonoscopy if any abnormality is discovered.
It also carries a very heavy dose of radiation. Be reminded that most endoscopist use sedation which leaves you with no awareness or memory of the procedure. Traditional colonoscopy is still the gold standard.

In brief: Yes
Virtual colonoscopy is less "invasive" but requires a similar prep procedure and requires a direct colonoscopy if any abnormality is discovered.
It also carries a very heavy dose of radiation. Be reminded that most endoscopist use sedation which leaves you with no awareness or memory of the procedure. Traditional colonoscopy is still the gold standard.
Dr. Don W Hodson
Dr. Don W Hodson
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Dr. John Kemerer
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
If you are screening for colon cancer the United States task force on preventative health recommends one of three methods, sigmoidoscopy , colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing (fobt).
They should start in average risk patients at age 50. No one method has been shown to be superior for colon cancer screening. Discuss the options with your physician.

In brief: Yes
If you are screening for colon cancer the United States task force on preventative health recommends one of three methods, sigmoidoscopy , colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing (fobt).
They should start in average risk patients at age 50. No one method has been shown to be superior for colon cancer screening. Discuss the options with your physician.
Dr. John Kemerer
Dr. John Kemerer
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Dr. Jack Hinkle
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
There is a procedure called a virtual colonsocopy that is performed by radiology.
You still need to undergo the prep to get quality results. If the test is positive a colonoscopy would be the recommended follow-up.

In brief: Yes
There is a procedure called a virtual colonsocopy that is performed by radiology.
You still need to undergo the prep to get quality results. If the test is positive a colonoscopy would be the recommended follow-up.
Dr. Jack Hinkle
Dr. Jack Hinkle
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine
In brief: Yes
A qualified "yes" - there are alternatives - the barium enema, and the virtual colonoscopy, but long story short, they're just not as accurate as the traditional colonoscopy.
Even the virtual colonoscopy might miss smaller but potentially precancerous polyps.

In brief: Yes
A qualified "yes" - there are alternatives - the barium enema, and the virtual colonoscopy, but long story short, they're just not as accurate as the traditional colonoscopy.
Even the virtual colonoscopy might miss smaller but potentially precancerous polyps.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Cynthia Point
Internal Medicine
In brief:
Another test is the stool analysis for minute amounts of blood, which can be an early sign of polyps.
There are test under development which also use a stool sample to check for genetic markers of higher risk, but they are not widely used. If there is blood, then a colonoscopy would be needed.

In brief:
Another test is the stool analysis for minute amounts of blood, which can be an early sign of polyps.
There are test under development which also use a stool sample to check for genetic markers of higher risk, but they are not widely used. If there is blood, then a colonoscopy would be needed.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Dr. Cynthia Point
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Dr. Cynthia Point
Internal Medicine
In brief: Yes
There is another test, ct colonoscopy, which can identify polyps.
There are several problems with this approach, however. There is radiation involved, which can be quite high. If a polyp is identified, then a regular colonoscopy must be done to remove it, and only after it is removed can it be looked at in pathology to see if it has the potential to turn into cancer. The prep is the same.

In brief: Yes
There is another test, ct colonoscopy, which can identify polyps.
There are several problems with this approach, however. There is radiation involved, which can be quite high. If a polyp is identified, then a regular colonoscopy must be done to remove it, and only after it is removed can it be looked at in pathology to see if it has the potential to turn into cancer. The prep is the same.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Dr. Cynthia Point
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Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine
In brief: Yes
There is a procedure called virtual colonoscopy.
It is less embarrassing, but if it does find polyps then one has to have a traditional colonoscopy to test/ remove these polyps and you still have to use the same bowel prep. Insurance payment is rare for this procedure when used for screening. And although the colonoscopy seems embarrassing, the medications used allow you to be comfortable.

In brief: Yes
There is a procedure called virtual colonoscopy.
It is less embarrassing, but if it does find polyps then one has to have a traditional colonoscopy to test/ remove these polyps and you still have to use the same bowel prep. Insurance payment is rare for this procedure when used for screening. And although the colonoscopy seems embarrassing, the medications used allow you to be comfortable.
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Dr. Paige Gutheil
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Dr. Andrew Carroll
Family Medicine
In brief: Yes
Yes, but none that are better than colonoscopy.
With colonoscopy, not only do you get the diagnostic test done, but if a polyp is found, it is easily removed. Other tests do not give you that benefit.

In brief: Yes
Yes, but none that are better than colonoscopy.
With colonoscopy, not only do you get the diagnostic test done, but if a polyp is found, it is easily removed. Other tests do not give you that benefit.
Dr. Andrew Carroll
Dr. Andrew Carroll
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Dr. Latisha Smith
Wound care
In brief: Yes
Barium enema is an xray that will show colon polyps.
However, the preference for finding colon polyps with colonoscopy is because if there are polyps present they can be removed at the time of the procedure and sent for examination for cancer. If barium enema shows polyps you will then need a colonoscopy to remove the polyps.

In brief: Yes
Barium enema is an xray that will show colon polyps.
However, the preference for finding colon polyps with colonoscopy is because if there are polyps present they can be removed at the time of the procedure and sent for examination for cancer. If barium enema shows polyps you will then need a colonoscopy to remove the polyps.
Dr. Latisha Smith
Dr. Latisha Smith
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