CT Virtual Colonoscopy

What is a CT Colonoscopy?

Computed Tomography (CT) or ‘CAT’ scans are special X-Ray scans that produce cross-sectional pictures of the body using X-Rays and a computer.

The CT machine looks like a large doughnut with a narrow table in the middle. The table moves through the large circular hole in the centre of the scanner. CT Colonoscopy uses CT scanning to look at the wall of your colon (large bowel).

Will there be any discomfort and is any anaesthetic needed?

Most people experience a feeling of fullness or mild discomfort during the procedure.

Some people may experience temporary abdominal cramping.

No anaesthetic is required for a CT Colonoscopy.

Preparation for the procedure

High St Xray will give you instructions on how to prepare for your procedure.

A bowel preparation kit (Pico-prep) will be given to you when booking the procedure. It is essential that these instructions are followed closely.

The bowel contents must be completely clear for the procedure to be accurate and complete.

Please tell the staff if you are or suspect you might be pregnant or are breastfeeding when booking the procedure.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Risks and complications associated with this procedure are very rare, but can include:

  • Injury to the bowel by the tube or by inflating the bowel with air. This may require other procedures and/or corrective surgery.
  • Infection, requiring antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Bleeding from the bowel. This may require other procedures and/or corrective surgery.

During the procedure

A small lubricated tube will gently be inserted a short way into the rectum in order to fill your bowel with air.

A muscle relaxing drug (Buscopan) will be given through a small cannula in your arm to relax the bowel.

Once the bowel is filled with air, scans will be taken.

Scans will be taken while you are lying on your back and also while you are lying on your stomach.

As the tube rotates around you, you will hear a whirring or humming noise and you will feel the table move slowly through the CT scanner.

You should remain as still as possible, as the slightest movement can blur the pictures.

You will be asked to hold your breath for up to 20 seconds.

After the procedure

The small tube will be removed.

Please keep in mind that you will continue to pass some of the air for a short time after the procedure.