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What is a virtual colonoscopy

What is a virtual colonoscopy?

A virtual colonoscopy is different from a regular colonoscopy. The virtual colonoscopy is performed in the radiology department of a hospital or medical center. No sedatives are needed and no scope is used. You will lie on your left side on a narrow table that is connected to a CT scan machine.

A regular colonoscopy may also need to be done (on a different day) after a virtual colonoscopy if:

Your doctor will most likely recommend a conventional colonoscopy instead of a virtual colonoscopy for the majority of patients. The reason is that virtual colonoscopy does not allow the doctor to remove tissue samples or polyps. This is important because some polyps can be precancerous and must be removed to eliminate the possibility of turning into cancer. In addition to removing polyps, your doctor may want to take additional biopsies to rule out certain conditions in conjunction with symptoms you experience. This can only be done with a conventional colonoscopy.

How to prepare for either test

Everyone undergoing any type of colonoscopy, virtual or traditional, must completely empty their bowels before the exam. Both tests require a bowel prep and clear liquid diet, specified by your doctor.

Risks for a virtual colonoscopy

Considerations

Differences between virtual and conventional colonoscopy include:

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