Before the Procedure
- The night before your exam, proper bowel preparation is essential for a good exam. The colon needs to be prepared so that the radiologist can clearly see if any polyps are present. The special liquid that you drink passes through you and is not absorbed by your body. Because the liquid is not absorbed, it causes most people to have mild diarrhea on that evening only.
- On the morning of the exam, you should strictly limit your diet to clear liquids, such as tea or apple juice.
What to Expect During a Virtual Colonoscopy
- Virtual colonoscopy is designed to be easily tolerated by patients. The exam can be completed within twenty minutes, and most patients report that it causes little or no discomfort.
- To begin, you will lie comfortably on the CT scanner table. A very small, flexible tube tip is inserted into the rectum and air is gently introduced into the colon. After the tube is inserted, your privacy will be maintained and you will be in control of the amount of air. You may experience a sense of fullness, but nearly all patients report that the air insufflation is not painful.
- It takes about two minutes to perform the actual CT scan. The first series of pictures will be taken with you lying on your stomach, followed by another set lying on your back. After the pictures are taken, the tube is removed and you will be free to go.
- Because no sedation is required for the test, you can drive or return to work after the exam is completed.
- Most people do not have polyps, but the smaller percentage of people who do should have them removed. If we detect a polyp on your virtual colonoscopy we will inform your doctor, and he or she will likely recommend a follow-up endoscopy to have the polyp removed.