Saturday, April 05, 2008

Just lost that post-colonscopy glow!

There's nothing, or very little, like the pleasure of viewing one's colonoscopy in retrospect. Most immediately, there's that leftover Versed glow, but in a more lasting sense, there's that 'just for now the colon's clean' (in more ways than one) feeling. That is until I read this item from JAMA* summarized in the March 28 edition of Science.

According to a study of 1800 veterans screened for colorectal cancer via colonscopy, nearly 10% of them had 'morphologically subtle flat lesions.' As in not-heaped-up, icky looking polyps but boring-flattish plaques. Subtle but dangerous plaques that don't leap up into the colonoscopist's line of sight in a 'whoa that doesn't look good; let's biopsy that sucker' sort of way. And when this particular group of investigators did biopsy these areas, the tissue was five times as likely as polyps to show cancerous features.

Well, dang, now don't I feel underscreened! But another group of researchers are hot on the trail of these flat colonic plaques. They've found that if you spray the colon's inner surface with a certain kind of little protein that likes to bind to premalignant colonic tissue, and if you make that peptide glow in the dark by hooking it up with fluorescein, then you can snag those hummers 81% of the time.

And you may enjoy viewing your post-procedure movements under black light!
*J Am Med Assoc. 299, 1027(2008)


Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Clearly this is the death of the 15-minute colonoscopy. I pity the GI docs whose productivity is going to tank thanks to this.

I'm not sure what's more amusing; the idea of optical brighteners in the remains of the day, or the customary waking-up-in-a-room-full-of-strangers, each farting up the Anvil Chorus.


Mauigirl said...

I heard something about this as well - it's always something, isn't it??? I hope the next colonoscopy I get (which I'm due for this year) will be using the new technique! Something else to worry about! Of course, for my husband, I'd be happy if he'd at lesat get a regular old fashioned colonscopy, which he continues to refuse to do.

KGMom said...

Oh gee thanks--as I am scheduled for mine in about a month.
Something to "look" forward to.

Femail doc said...

Everyone, be sure to click on the anvil chorus link in Eric's comment! It's not farting, it's fabulous.

MG: On average, husband's don't do colonoscopies. Mine wondered aloud when I'd completed my exam whether perhaps I would schedule a brain biopsy next.

KGM: I think colonoscopies are better looked at from behind!