The utility of routine preoperative computed tomography scanning in the management of veterans with colon cancer

Am J Surg. 2002 May;183(5):499-503. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(02)00841-3.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Critical Pathways
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Veterans