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This procedure is safe. Rarely, a person may be allergic to the contrast material that is sometimes used.
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
You will be lie on your back on a movable x-ray table. A small tube will be inserted into your rectum. Air will be gently pumped through the tube. The table will move slowly through the donut-shaped CT scanner. You will need to remain still. You will also be asked to hold your breath for periods during the scan. The test will then be repeated with you lying on your stomach.
You will be able to leave after the test is done. You can resume your normal diet and activities.
30 to 40 minutes
You may feel cramping and bloating. You may also feel the urge to pass stool.
A specialist will review the images. A follow-up exam or more testing may be needed.
Call your doctor if you have any problems, such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Gastroenterology
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Cancer Society
CT colonography. Radiology Info—American College of Radiology website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ct_colo. Accessed March 19, 2021.
Scalise P, Mantarro A, et al. Computed tomography colonography for the practicing radiologist: A review of current recommendations on methodology and clinical indications. World J Radiol. 2016 May 28;8(5):472-483.
Virtual colonoscopy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/virtual-colonoscopy. Accessed March 19, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 3/19/2021