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What is Virtual Colonoscopy?
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.
Download Virtual Colonoscopy - Information for Patients & Families (PDF).
The information contained in this letter is intended to make your experience as smooth as possible. It highlights what to expect for your exam preparation.
Stanford Health Care Imaging Services Advantage
- 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.
- Patient-centric environment
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
- Visualizes the entire bowel
- Proven effective in large clinical trials