Virtual colonoscopy / CT Scan

Virtual colonoscopy is a reliable, non-invasive test that captures 3D images of the inside of the colon and rectum.


What is colonoscopy used for?

Colonoscopy allows the radiologist to visualize the intestinal wall on a screen and to navigate precisely to specific areas. It also allows for an assessment of the abdominal structures in general. In 5-10% of cases, other significant medical conditions are seen (a cyst on the ovary or diverticulitis).

The examination requires insufflation of CO₂ (carbon dioxide) to distend the colon using a very small flexible rectal tube. Unless there are contraindications, an intravenous injection of hyoscine bromide will be performed. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.

Some facts about colon (colorectal) cancer

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common type of cancer in Canada, in both men and women

The rate of death after diagnosis is approximately 40

Nearly 95% of cases occur after the age of 50

More than half of all cases are diagnosed in people aged 70 and over

Remember, early detection leads to a cure for 9 out of 10 people.

A medial prescription is required to perform this test. If you have a prescription for an ultrasound that is not mentioned, contact us

Procedure of the examination

For the procedure, we will ask you :

put on a gown and remove your jewelry and any metal objects that could interfere with the quality of the images.

Lie down comfortably on the examination table.

During this time, our technologist:

Will insert a small flexible tube into your rectum to inflate your colon. You may experience some mild abdominal cramping that will quickly subside.

The doctor will inject you with a bowel relaxant (hyoscine bromide) and will take two series of images of 30 seconds each.

Depending on the examination prescribed by your health care professional, you may be injected with a contrast agent. The list of these agents will be indicated to you when you make your appointment. If you think you may be allergic, please notify our technologist.

Preparing for the exam

Virtual colonoscopy requires a complete colon cleansing and you should follow these steps to prepare

All of the following items are available at no charge at any of our clinics:

One bottle (225 ml) of E-Z-Cat 4.6% barium oral solution (do not dilute the contents of the bottle)

The preparation kit

Three (3) bisacodyl (Dulcolax) tablets

One bottle of ready-to-drink iodinated contrast material (Gastrografine 30 ml).

2 days prior to the exam, please follow this modified diet in order to best prepare yourself for the screening:

First day of preparation

- Clear liquids only
- Clear broth
- Tea

- White bread and white pasta
- One 125 g (4 oz) serving of tuna or white poultry without skin or 2 eggs per meal
- Tomato sauce without vegetables, skins or onions
- Margarine and oil
- Liquid meal replacements that do not contain any fibre

- Fruits and vegetables
- Red meat
- Nuts
- Beans
- Dairy products
- Any type of grain or whole wheat product or cereal
- For vegan patients (who do not eat any animal products), substitute chicken, tuna or fish with tofu (not fried)

The day before the exam, it is important that you do not eat any solid food.

- Drink at least 250 ml (8 oz) of clear liquid (liquid meal replacements are allowed)
- In the morning, drink at least two (2) 250 ml (8 oz) glasses of clear liquid. Avoid coffee and cola.

Prepare the polyethylene glycol = PEG wash solution as follows
- Dissolve the entire contents of each 70 g bag in 1 liter (32 oz) of water
- Stir until a clear solution is obtained. Do not add any other ingredients (e.g., flavourings)
- Refrigerate the solution to improve the taste.

- Drink at least 250 mL (8 oz) of clear liquid (liquid meal replacement allowed)
- Drink half the barium mixture
- Take the 3 Dulcolax tablets orally (do not chew)
- You can apply petroleum jelly to your anus to reduce irritation from diarrhea

- By 5:00 p.m., consume only clear liquids for dinner (e.g., chicken broth, water).
- Drink remaining E-Z-Cat 4.6% barium oral solution.

At 6:00 p.m., start drinking the polyethylene glycol = PEG preparation. Follow the instructions on the package.

- Quickly drink one glass (240 ml) of the prepared solution every 10 minutes.
- Be sure to drink all of the solution prepared with the first sachet.
- If necessary, take a break of an hour or two between the two liters of polyethylene glycol = PEG preparation
- Drink 250 ml to 500 ml of juice or other clear liquid to hydrate if necessary
At 10 p.m., drink the Gastrografine bottle (30 ml), unless you are allergic to iodine.
Then drink a 250 ml glass of clear liquid.
- Do not eat or drink until the examination is over.
- If necessary, take your usual medication with a sip of water.

The morning of the exam

No eating or drinking.

Do not smoke or chew gum.

If necessary, take your usual medication with a sip of water

 Important information

In the evening

Do not worry if you do not have a bowel movement within 6 hours of taking the tablets. After 6 hours of taking Dulcolax or shortly after supper, start drinking the solution. Quickly drink one glass (240 mL) of solution every 10 minutes. Be sure to drink all of the solution prepared with the first packet.

You can take a break of an hour or two between the two liters of polyethylene glycol = PEG preparation. You can drink 250 ml to 500 ml of juice or other clear liquid to hydrate yourself if you feel the need.

Mix Gastrografine with the second liter of PEG formula. REPEAT by drinking the second liter of prepared solution at a rate of 240 ml every 10 minutes.

You will pass watery stool within an hour, then soft stool 1 to 2 hours after you finish drinking the solution. The enema is complete when the fecal discharge is colorless.

Bloating or abdominal distension may occur before the first stool is passed. If abdominal distension or discomfort persists, temporarily stop drinking the polyethylene glycol = PEG wash or drink each 240 mL portion at longer intervals (more than 10 minutes) until symptoms resolve.

If you experience severe swelling or abdominal pain or distension, temporarily slow down or stop taking the solution until the symptoms go away. Report these symptoms to your doctor

You can take your usual medication with a sip of water

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