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Virtual Colonoscopy (CT)

What does it consist of?

A virtual colonoscopy is similar to other types of computed tomography (CT) scan. You’ll be asked to lie on the test table and have a small tube inserted into your rectum to help inflate your bowel and reveal any polyps that are “hidden.” The test table will slide inside the CT scan that will rotate around you taking hundreds of images of your abdominal organs. These images combine to produce a three-dimensional model of your large intestine and any growth within it. The doctor can then “look inside,” as if he is actually traveling through the colon. Once the scan is finished, the tube will be removed and you can leave.


Unlike a traditional colonoscopy, a virtual colonoscopy can be performed while you’re awake, and is much quicker, about 15-20 minutes to complete.


Who is it for?

The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screening starting at age 50. It suggests CT-Colonography as a good option that should be done every 5 years. Individuals at high risk or with a family history of colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 40 and reduce the time interval between scans.


Other indications:

  • Patients at high clinical risk whose clinical conditions may pose an increased risk of complications during conventional colonoscopy. For example, patients on anticoagulant treatment, breathing difficulties, advanced age…
  • When colonoscopy cannot reach full length on examination because the intestine has narrowed or is obstructed for any reason, e.g. by a tumor or previous inflammatory processes.
  • Presurgical staging of colorectal cancer.
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