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Virtual Colonoscopy is a medical imaging exam that uses computed tomography (CT), sometimes called a CAT scan, and advanced computer software to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the colon that can be viewed on a computer monitor.
The major reason for performing virtual colonoscopy is to screen for polyps or cancers in the large intestine. Polyps are growths that arise from the inner lining of the intestine. Some polyps may grow and turn into cancers. The goal of screening with colonoscopy is to find these polyps in their early stages, so that they can be removed before cancer has had a chance to develop.
State-of-the-art technology: The latest generation CT scanners
Abdominal radiology subspecialist interpretations
Extensive experience in 3D imaging
Utilizes CO2 gas instead of air to inflate the colon. The gas is absorbed by the body and causes less cramping and bloating than air, thus ensuring that patients have a better experience.
If polyps are found, Stanford Health Care Imaging Services can coordinate, pending availability, a same-day or next-day traditional colonoscopy with the Stanford Health Care Gastroenterology Clinic for eligible patients. Because sedation is given for a traditional colonoscopy, patients must have a responsible adult driver to take them home.
Patients taking anticoagulants (blood thinners), aspirin, NSAIDS (e.g., Advil, Aleve, and Motrin), Plavix, supplements and/or vitamins should consult with their prescribing physician before scheduling a CT virtual colonoscopy.
What are the benefits of CT Virtual Colonoscopy?
Less invasive than traditional colonoscopy
Exam takes less time (30 minutes) than a traditional colonoscopy
Sedation and pain relievers are not needed, so there is no recovery period
Patients can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure
Lower risk of complications than traditional colonoscopy
Ideal for patients with an increased risk of complications, or patients who cannot tolerate a traditional colonoscopy
Helpful when traditional colonoscopy cannot be completed because the bowel is too narrow, obstructed, elongated, or tortuous