CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy)

What is CT colonography?

 
CT colonography (CTC), also known as Virtual Colonoscopy (VC), is a non-invasive method to screen the colon for polyps. Polyps, which are mass-like projections into the bowel, can become cancerous lesions if they attain a size of greater than 10mm. Early detection and removal of these lesions is an important part of colon cancer prevention.
 
What does CTC involve?
 
Prior to undergoing the study, a period of bowel preparation using a standard regimen is given, to help clean out the colon. In cases of incomplete optical colonoscopy, the CTC is performed the same day, therefore preventing the need for 2 bowel preparations.
 
Upon arrival to the department, the patient is changed into an examination gown, and escorted to the CT scanner. The colon is distended with an automated carbon dioxide insufflation device. This ensures a safe, controlled and monitored administration of CO2 gas. CO2 is used as it decreases the feeling of bloating which some patients may experience, and is rapidly eliminated after the study.
 
Two low dose CT exams of the abdomen and pelvis are performed, one while the patient lies on the back, and the other with the patient lying on the stomach. Occasionally, scans are obtained with patients lying on the side.
 
Upon completion of the exam, the patient changes into their regular clothes and are allowed to leave the department, with no specific restrictions on activity. Note that intravenous contrast is not routinely used during a CTC exam, unless there is a particular clinical question for which the use of dye would be needed.
 
How do I schedule a CTC?
 
If you would like to schedule a CTC, Click here for our contact information.  You will be given instructions on where to collect you bowel preparation kit form, as well as given the appointment time for the CT.
 
I have a question about a CTC, who can I talk to?
 
If you have any questions about the CT colonoscopy exam, you may call 717-531-8044, and leave a message. One of our radiologists will respond to your query as soon as possible.