Virtual Colonoscopy Defined:

A virtual colonoscopy is a non-invasive, safe and more comfortable procedure for colon screening. The virtual colonoscopy scan takes hundreds of images of the abdomen and pelvis, allowing radiologists to take a virtual tour of the colon.

Virtual Colonoscopy Benefits:

  • A virtual colonoscopy does not require the insertion of a scope into the colon.
  • Sedation and pain-relievers are not needed, so there is no recovery period. A patient can return to their usual activities after the procedure without the aid of another person.
  • A virtual colonoscopy takes less time than either conventional colonoscopies or lower GI series.
  • With a virtual colonoscopy, 100% of the colon surface can be seen as opposed to only 70%-80% of the colon surface with a conventional colonoscopy.
  • A virtual colonoscopy provides clearer, more detailed images than a conventional X-ray using a barium enema, sometimes called a lower GI series.
  • Virtual colonoscopies substantially decrease the risk of perforating the colon.
  • Elderly patients, especially those who are frail or ill can tolerate a virtual colonoscopy better than conventional colonoscopy.

Virtual Colonoscopy Experience:

Patients will lie face up on a table. The table will move through the CT scanner to produce a series of cross-sectional images of the colon. At various points during the procedure, the patient may be asked to hold their breath to steady the images. The procedure will be repeated while patients lie face down.

Virtual Colonoscopy Preparation:

Instructions for colon preparation will be prescribed upon scheduling of the virtual colonoscopy. The cleansing preparation is done the day before the scheduled day of the procedure.

Virtual Colonoscopy Candidates:

  • Patients over 50 years of age
  • Patients over 40 with a family history of colon cancer

Colon Cancer Statistics:

  • Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US, accounting for about 48,000 deaths a year.
  • Colorectal cancer has over a 90% cure rate when detected early.
  • Colon cancer is the third most common cancer amongst men and women in the US.
  • Each year more deaths are attributed to colorectal cancer than from breast cancer and AIDS combined.
  • Starting at age 50, men and woman who are at average risk should be screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Over 97,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year.
  • 90% of colon cancers occur over the age of 50.

For more information about Virtual Colonoscopy or CT Colonography, Click here to watch a short video:

Virtual Colonoscopy