Colonoscopy (and/or gastroenterology) can be very unpleasant to the patient undergoing these procedures. When used for diagnostic purposes only, i.e. when no interaction (e.g. biopsy, polyp or tumour removal) is necessary, alternative methods can be employed. One such method is virtual colonoscopy, where the patient digests a contrast material and a CT scan is subsequently taken. The colon can then be segmented and reconstructed on a computer to allow a clinician to perform a ‘virtual' fly-through of the colon. Our 3DView software provides an option for fly-throughs of pre-segmented CT (and MRI) datasets.
Another alternative to diagnostic colonoscopy and gastroenterology is to use the M2A pill. The latter is swallowed by the patient and takes pictures of the oesophagus, stomach, intestines and colon after which it is expulsed through the patient's faeces. The patient wears a recording device, which records images wirelessly sent by the M2A pill. We have developed software to classify images with meaningful diagnostic content (e.g. those displaying polyps, tumours, etc.), to save the clinician from having to analyse all images taken which add up to several thousands for one cycle per patient.