Virtual CT Colonoscopy

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Virtual CT Colonoscopy

Virtual CT Colonoscopy is a non-invasive radiological technique that uses CT technology to provide an accurate method to detect large colorectal polyps and cancer.

Virtual CT colonoscopy (also called CT colonography) is a non-invasive radiological technique that combines CT scanner and computer technology to provide an accurate method to screen for large colorectal polyps and cancer. Recently the American Cancer Society recommended this procedure as an option for colorectal cancer screening; one of three tests (Colonoscopy, Double Contrast Barium Enema, and Virtual Colonoscopy) that examine the entire colon. The virtual CT colonoscopy examines the entire colon, is minimally invasive, quick, and requires no anesthesia. A CT scanner provides hundreds of X-ray images of the entire colon as well as the abdomen/pelvis area. Sophisticated image processing computers then produce 2 and 3 dimensional images of the colon.

Cleveland Clinic 's Imaging Institute has experienced technologists and staff radiologists who have completed and interpreted over 1500 of these virtual CT colonoscopy scans. In conjunction with our partners in the Department of Gastroenterology, we offer a follow-up same day conventional optical colonoscopy procedure at our main campus.

This exam is not suitable for everyone. If medically feasible, a conventional optical colonoscopy is preferable if a person is less than 50 years of age and has one of the following conditions:

  • Recent unintentional weight loss of greater than 10 pounds
  • Recent experience of GI discomfort, change in bowel habits, anemia or bleeding
  • Diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis)
  • A family history of colorectal polyps or cancer including familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non polyposis colorectal cancer

Medicare and/or insurance reimbursement/coverage is available only if there is a documented medical reason for this type of CT scan. Examples of this include patients who have had an incomplete conventional colonoscopy and patients who have a high risk for bleeding such as those taking anticoagulants like Coumadin or patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia.

Virtual CT colonoscopy for colon screening is currently not covered under most major insurance plans or Medicare and a payment is required at the time of service.

Virtual CT Colonoscopy Fact Sheet

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