Background: The aim of this study is to assess the clinical utility of routine preoperative computed tomography (CT) scanning in patients with cancer of the intraperitoneal colon.
Methods: From November 1997 to June 2001, all patients at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System with a diagnosis of colon cancer were referred for a preoperative CT scan. Medical records and operative notes were reviewed to determine the influence of preoperative CT on clinical management.
Results: Seventy patients received a CT per protocol. Preoperative CT provided information that was used in treatment planning and management in 26 (37%) cases. However, if preoperative scans had not been performed, the clinical management would have been definitively altered in only 13 (19%) patients.
Conclusions: Although these data suggest potential benefit for routine preoperative CT scanning, we believe additional study, including cost analysis, should precede the adoption of CT scanning as a routine preoperative study in patients with colon cancer.