Virtual Colonoscopy (CT colonoscopy)

What is a "virtual" colonoscopy or CT colonoscopy? 

A CT colonoscopy is a CT scan of your abdomen after the colon has been gently filled with air. The scan is then sent to a computer workstation where the data is analyzed.

Must I have a "clean" colon? 

Yes. The bowel must be free of fecal residue (stool) which can be confused with growths such as polyps and cancers.

What is the prep I must take? 

You will use a prep called the Fleets Prep Kit number 1. This involves a liquid diet, a solution called Phospho Soda, Dulcolax tablets, and a suppository to clean your bowel.

Does the test have any risk? 

Essentially, the test has no risk. The only risk is from the small amount of radiation from the scan.

Must I be sedated? 

You do not need sedation for this exam.

Is the test painful? 

Most people describe the test as mildly uncomfortable. This is due to the need to insufflate air into the colon.

How long does the test take? 

The actual scans are about 20 seconds each. The total time you will be on the CT table is about 10 minutes, including set-up time. You will only have your bowel filled with air for about 1-2 minutes.

Must I take time off from work for the exam? 

You will not be sedated, so you can go to work immediately after the exam.