, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 107-117
Date: 20 Mar 2013

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of 3-D Computerized Tomography Colonography Versus Optical Colonoscopy for Imaging Symptomatic Gastroenterology Patients

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When symptomatic gastroenterology patients have an indication for colonic imaging, clinicians have a choice between optical colonoscopy (OC) and computerized tomography colonography with three-dimensional reconstruction (3-D CTC). 3-D CTC provides a minimally invasive and rapid evaluation of the entire colon, and it can be an efficient modality for diagnosing symptoms. It allows for a more targeted use of OC, which is associated with a higher risk of major adverse events and higher procedural costs. A case can be made for 3-D CTC as a primary test for colonic imaging followed if necessary by targeted therapeutic OC; however, the relative long-term costs and benefits of introducing 3-D CTC as a first-line investigation are unknown.


The aim of this study was to assess the cost effectiveness of 3-D CTC versus OC for colonic imaging of symptomatic gastroenterology patients in the UK NHS.


We used a Markov model to follow a cohort of 100,000 symptomatic gastroenterology patients, aged 50 years or older, and estimate the expected lifetime outcomes, life years (LYs) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and costs (£, 2010–2011) associated with 3-D CTC and OC. Sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the robustness of the base-case cost-effectiveness results to variation in input parameters and methodological assumptions.


3D-CTC provided a similar number of LYs (7.737 vs 7.739) and QALYs (7.013 vs 7.018) per individual compared with OC, and it was associated with substantially lower mean costs per patient (£467 vs £583), leading to a positive incremental net benefit. After accounting for the overall uncertainty, the probability of 3-D CTC being cost effective was around 60 %, at typical willingness-to-pay values of £20,000–£30,000 per QALY gained.


3-D CTC is a cost-saving and cost-effective option for colonic imaging of symptomatic gastroenterology patients compared with OC.