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How to prepare for a virtual colonoscopy?
Before a virtual colonoscopy, you will need to clean out your colon. All solids must be emptied by following a low residue diet which starts 3 days before the exam and a liquid diet the day before your exam. This process is called bowel prep. The liquid diet will be limited to: plain water, tea, strained fruit juice, fat-free broth and clear carbonated drinks. A laxative (medicine that loosens stool and increases bowel movement) is required the day before the exam. During the bowel prep, you will drink a liquid called a contrast media which will highlight the remaining stools during the CT scan. Upon making an appointment for your virtual colonoscopy, our team of professionals will instruct you on the steps to follow for a proper bowel prep.
How is the virtual colonoscopy performed?
Typically, a virtual colonoscopy takes about 30 minutes for the entire visit. However, only about 10 minutes are actually spent inside the CT scan room. Patients lie on their back on a table. The technician inserts a thin tube (1.5 inch long) in the anus and rectum to pump carbon dioxide gas to expand the large intestine for better viewing. This may cause a feeling of pressure in the abdomen. The examination table will move through the CT scanner during a few seconds to produce a series of images. The procedure will be repeated with the patients lying on their abdomen or on the side. After the test, the radiologist evaluates the results to identify abnormalities in the colon as well as in the adjacent organs.