Osteoporosis Screening

Osteoporosis screening with a Virtual Colonoscopy - how good is it? As early as 2008 there were  articles stating that Virtual colonsocopy can be used to detect Osteoporosis as well as possible growths in the colon.

Here is a summary of the December 2008 report:  Virtual colonoscopy -- colon cancer screening via CT scans -- can also be used to screen people for the bone disorder osteoporosis, researchers report."

The report continues:

"If you're trying to decide whether to have a colonoscopy or virtual colonoscopy, you may want to opt for the latter as it has the added benefit of allowing us to determine your bone mineral density at the same time,"  Rizwan Aslam, MBChB, assistant clinical professor of radiology at the University of California San Francisco.

Virtual colonoscopy, also known as CT colonography, begins with an abdominal CT scan, which creates cross-sectional images of all structures in the abdomen, including the spine. Computer software then arranges the CT images to create a "fly-through" view of the colon, allowing doctors to look for polyps that can lead to cancer as well as cancer itself.

Using the same CT images, another software application can create three-dimensional images of the spine, allowing bone mineral density to be measured."

In 2012 the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography also published an article: Feasibility of Simultaneous CT Colonography and Fully-Automated Bone Mineral Densitometry in a Single Examination. by Ronald M. Summers, MD, PhD, Nicolai Baecher, MD, [...], and Suvimol Hill, MD. It, too, suggested that anyone having a colonoscopy could also have their bone density analyzed. See: Osteoporosis screening with a Virtual Colonoscopy

Virtual Colonoscopy vs. Dexa scan: for Osteoporosis screening

A dexa scan usually takes views of your spine and at least one hip. A Virtual Colonscopy only views the spine. It could give a misleading sense of complacency in someone who has already begun to show excessive bone loss in one or more hips since there are many people whose dexa scan shows normal bone density of the spine but Osteopenia or Osteoporosis of one or both hips.

The loss of bone density in the hip area, especially the area of the femoral neck poses a health risk. Anyone with low bone density in one or more hips is at risk for hip fracture. Early diagnosis and treatment is important for preventing hip fracture.

Patients need to keep the limits of virtual colonoscopy for detecting Osteopenia or Osteoporosis of the hip in mind when considering which type of bone desnity screening they will use.

Read more about dexa scans as a Osteoporosis screening