Virtual endoscopy uses either spiral computed tomography or magnetic resonance scanning together with computer technology to produce three-dimensional images, according to PubMed. It is used to see the inside surfaces of organs such as the lungs and the colon.
The advantage of virtual endoscopy is that it is noninvasive and can be done prior to endoscopic surgery, reports the American Family Physician. However, it exposes the patient to the same amount of radiation as a standard CT scan, warns the American Cancer Society. Doctors also cannot take biopsy samples or remove growths in case something abnormal is found.