Virtual colonoscopy: Today it is possible by computer calculations to convert image data from a computer tomograph into three-dimensional views that are very similar to the images from an optical endoscope. Since the images are assembled in a computer, all viewing angles and directions are possible, which are not adjustable with an optical endoscope.
Contactless and painless
Virtual endoscopy is non-contact and painless. However, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) must first be performed. These devices create the finest two-dimensional slice images from within the body and layer by layer represent the tissue structures of the organs. A specialized computer program then converts the images into three-dimensional color images that can be viewed on a computer screen.
The doctor then sits in front of his computer and sees on the monitor actually the patient's intestine including all turns and bends. This allows every angle and every bowel loop to be considered painless. Since the procedure does not seem to be fully developed for particularly small changes, the health insurance companies do not yet cover the costs or only in exceptional cases. If virtual colonoscopy does not provide satisfactory results, conventional colonoscopy is usually used.
Mini Capsule Colonoscopy
As part of the 107th German Internists Congress in Wiesbaden, a new procedure was presented for the first time: shots taken inside the body through a mini capsule. Initial experience with this method in the US and other European countries shows that inspection of the small intestine with the mini-capsule colonoscopy can significantly improve the examination without at the same time being stressful for the patient.
The mini capsule is no bigger than an antibiotic tablet. It has a miniature camera that delivers 2 frames per second from the intestines via radio. Externally on the body, a recording device is attached, which records the images from the entire digestive tract. This video recording is evaluated by a doctor. The capsule is taken in the morning (sober) by the patient quite simply like a tablet. Afterwards, nothing is allowed to be eaten for three hours. The capsule itself lingers for about 1 to 2 hours in the stomach and usually requires 90 minutes for the passage of the small intestine. She leaves the body naturally by stool after about 10 to 12 hours.
Advantages and disadvantages of mini capsule colonoscopy
The examination by capsule endoscopy is performed on an outpatient basis. The patient can easily go about his daily work, there is no physical impairment. As pleasant as this method is for the patient, it is so costly for the doctor. The camera in the capsule makes about 50, 000 images within eight hours, for the evaluation even a trained gastroenterologist needs at least two hours.
However, in case of unclear gastrointestinal bleeding, in which conventional colonoscopy has been unsuccessful in the search for causes, capsule endoscopy is a sensible alternative. This also applies to patients who, for various reasons, can not be expected to undergo a conventional colonoscopy. In addition, studies in England and the US have shown that capsule use in children is particularly gentle and tolerable. In the US, colonoscopy capsules have also been approved by the FDA as a medical device.