Your Radiologist Explains CT Colonography (Virtual colonoscopy)
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Hi, I’m Dr. Elliot Fishman, a radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I’d like to talk with you today about computed tomography colonography or, as it is more commonly known, virtual colonoscopy.
Virtual colonoscopy is a diagnostic imaging test that is used to screen the large intestine or colon for cancer and growths called polyps. This procedure uses low-dose CT or CAT scanning to produce pictures of the colon and the rectum. During the examination, a small tube is inserted a short distance into the rectum to allow for inflation with air while CT images are being taken.
If you’re scheduled for a virtual colonoscopy, there are several things you can do to prepare for the examination.
On the day of your exam, your doctor may restrict you to clear fluids and give you instructions on clearing your colon beforehand. The instructions for the prep are important to follow carefully in order for the exam to be performed with the most accuracy. If you have any questions about the prep, speak to your doctor or the radiology department in advance of the examination. When you come for the examination, leave any jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. After the CT scan you can return to your normal diet and go back to work the same day in most cases.
Perhaps you might have some concerns about CT scanning. However, it’s important to consider the likelihood of benefit from this exam to your health. While virtual colonoscopy does use radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any potential risk.
For more information about virtual colonoscopy or to answer any specific questions, visit Radiology Info dot org.