Virtual colonoscopy is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that takes standard CT images of the abdomen while special software converts those images into a three-dimensional moving picture of the inside of the colon. A specially trained radiologist uses these images to look for polyps or abnormalities.
Virtual colonoscopy has been shown to be an effective examination in detecting clinically significant colon polyps and cancers. Greensboro Imaging uses a system called Viatronix™, the same used in the largest screening trial in the U.S., which had the highest polyp detection rate of any virtual colonoscopy trial published to date.
Click this image to watch a brief video of noninvasive virtual colonoscopy.
A cleansing bowel prep is necessary. Any solid material remaining in the colon would make it impossible to identify small polyps. A virtual colonoscopy begins by placing a small flexible rubber tube in the rectum, so that air can be used to expand the colon.
While most patients are comfortable during the procedure, some can expect to feel a gas-like fullness. This feeling lasts less than 10 minutes and is gone completely at the end of the exam.
Patients lie comfortably on their back and then turn over onto their stomach while the images are being taken. The procedure takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Because sedation is not utilized, patients are free to return to home or work immediately without the need for observation or recovery.
Virtual colonoscopy images demonstrating a colon polyp and a malignant colon cancer in two patients.