Virtual Colonography Vs. Colonoscopy

A Colonoscopy and Virtual Colonography are two procedures that examine your colon for bowel disease and early signs of colorectal cancer. Our Health Centre performs both procedures, but which procedure is better?

A colonoscopy can by no means be described as a pleasant experience. However, many realize the importance of a healthy colon and bravely endure the uncomfortable examination of a very private area of their body. A newer screening method, virtual colonography, is a non-invasive procedure and far more comfortable for patients.

Both procedures are equivalent in accuracy and produce similar results, and since a virtual colonography is more patient-friendly, it seems clear that it is the superior screening method. However, if an abnormality is detected during a virtual colonography, no further actions can be performed. A biopsy can only be performed during a colonoscopy. If a polyp is found, the patient will need a regular colonoscopy and biopsy to determine if the polyp is cancerous.

Both procedures are valid options for detecting cancer. To ensure a higher success rate, discuss the pros and cons of both procedures with your physician or gastroenterologist.
Colon Cancer Screening

Virtual ColonographyColonoscopy
If abnormality is found, a colonoscopy will be requiredImmediate removal of abnormalities
Non-invasive procedureInvasive procedure
No sedation required, normal activity can be resumed on the same daySedation required, patient cannot drive until sedation wears off
No risk of bleeding or tearing of the colonSmall risk of bleeding or tearing of the colon
May detect abnormalities outside of the colon (e.g. kidney cancer)Only examines the colon
Not covered by all medical insuranceBroader medical insurance coverage

Visit our Surgical Centre to learn more about Colonoscopy.
Visit our Diagnostics Centre to learn more about Virtual Colonography. Also known as CT Colonography or Virtual Colonoscopy.

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  1. Susan D.
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I would like to get a colonoscopy or colonography and would like all the information on how I go about getting one asap (cost, wait time, colonography V colonoscopy etc)
    Also I don’t have a doctors referral, would that make a difference?

  2. Axel B.
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Three questions:

    What is the total cost of a virtual colonoscopy?
    How long, on average, is the waiting period?
    Do I need a referral?

  3. Craig E
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    I do not see any responses to these questions. Why?

    • Aaron Ottho
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Hi Craig.
      In general, we respond to the individual who posts directly over email. It is preferable for that discussion to occur with our patient advisor for that specific department, who will be more familiar with the answers for specific procedures.

  4. Kelly W.
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    A couple of questions:

    1) What are the fees for a colonoscopy and a Virtual Colonography?

    2) Can a Virtual Colonography also detect other things than cancer (i.e. diverticulosis)?

  5. Janet R.
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    What is the cost of a colonoscopy ( include eveything ) and do you have openings in August? Thanks.

  6. Phill S.
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    How much do you charge for the colonography? Would you know if Blue Cross covers any of the cost? thank you.

  7. Tomoaki M.
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I would like to make an appointment for colonoscopy ASAP, too.
    I do not have a family doctor.

    What should I do?

  8. Tom S.
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I would like to know how long it takes to get an appointment, do I need a referral and what is the cost.

  9. Katherine M.
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I would like to know cost of colonoscopy, do I need a referral from a doctor?

  10. Mara R
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I have the same questions as the person above me.

    I would like to know how soon I could get an appointment for a colonoscopy, how much it will cost and how much the cost for the consultation will be.

    Also, I have the same questions regarding virtual colonography.

    Do I need a referral from my family Dr. ?

    Thank you.

  11. Walter M.
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I would like to know how soon I could get an appointment for a colonoscopy, how much it will cost and how much the cost for the consultation will be.

    Do I need a referral from my family Dr.

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