Virtual Colonoscopy procedure is a quick screening procedure that does not require the use of an endoscope to evaluate the colon. A CT scanner is used to gather detailed images of the colon. The Virtual Colonoscopy procedure is used to diagnose colon or bowel disease such as polyps, diverticulosis, and cancer. Virtual Colonoscopy is also helpful to assess patients who are unable to tolerate or complete a traditional colonoscopy.
- Men and women 50 or older as well as younger individuals with the following risk factors should also be considered:
- Family history of colon cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
- Personal history of endometrial and/or breast cancer
- Personal history of polyps
- Suspected toxic megacolon
- Recent colonic biopsy
- Suspected Hirschsprung’s disease
- Suspected acute diverticulitis
- Suspected colitis, all causes
- Suspected colonic fistula
- Previous anal, rectal and/or colonic surgery
During the procedure, the patient lays down on their back. A thin tube is inserted into the rectum, and air is introduced through the tube to distend the colon for optimal viewing. The patient then moves through a CT scanner that produces a series of 3D cross-sectional images along the length of the colon. A single breath hold of 15-20 seconds is required during the scan to avoid distortion of the images. The same scan is then repeated with the patient lying on their stomach. The tube is then removed and the procedure is over.
The patient will usually be asked to take laxatives or other oral agents the day before the procedure to clear stool from the colon and to ensure an optimal exam. Virtual colonoscopy does not require the use of sedatives. To ensure proper preparation, you may call Huntington-Hill Imaging Center at 626-229-8969.