Question: What are the risks of a colonoscopy and is there a non-invasive alternative?
Dr. Brownstein’s answer:
There are risks to having a colonoscopy. These risks include a perforation in the bowel wall, as well as developing an infection. A colonoscopy is a procedure where a scope is inserted into the colon and a doctor visualizes the colon wall. If he sees polyps, he can have them biopsied to determine whether they are cancerous or pre-cancerous.
There is a new "virtual colonoscopy" available. It is a procedure using radiation via computed tomography (CT scan). I believe that you should avoid virtual colonoscopy. It exposes the vital organs of the body to excessive amounts of radiation. Radiation is known to cause mutations in the DNA of the exposed cells. These mutations can become cancerous. Use radiologic procedures only if they are indicated. If you do choose to have a virtual colonoscopy and anything abnormal is seen, you will then need to have a regular colonoscopy. I say, if you need a colonoscopy, stick with the original, scope version.