Breakthrough AI Enhances Colonoscopy Tumor Detection

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed some exciting new AI technology that could improve the detection of tumors during colonoscopies.

The key is that this AI tool is really good at spotting tiny growths in the colon called adenomas. These are often less than 5mm wide and can be tricky for doctors to notice, especially if they’re new to doing colonoscopies. But if adenomas are missed, they might turn into colon cancer down the road. No bueno.

Dr. Louis Lau Ho-shing, who led the research, says the AI acts like “an extra pair of eyes” for doctors. It analyzes the video footage from the little camera used during colonoscopies and flags any potential tumors it sees. This could help reduce the number of adenomas that get missed, particularly when less experienced doctors are doing the procedure.

See, colonoscopies require major multi-tasking skills from the doc. They’ve gotta navigate the camera through all the twists and turns of the colon while scanning the footage for abnormalities. It’s easy for small adenomas to slip through the cracks if the doc is tired or still learning the ropes.

That’s where AI buddy comes in! By scanning the footage and catching things the doc might have missed, the AI can improve detection rates. Fewer adenomas are overlooked, so fewer slip through to become cancer later on.

The researchers tested this out with some junior doctors at the University’s medical school and found the AI did boost their adenoma detection rates. Now the public hospitals in Hong Kong are even buying the AI tool to use during their own colonoscopy procedures.

Dr. Ho-shing hopes this early success will encourage more widespread use of AI for colonoscopies. Having an artificial set of eyes helps doctors spot adenomas they might have fatigue-blinked past.