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Professional Radiology and Outpatient Imaging Services

Procedure Prep - Colon Screening

Is there any preparation on my part prior to my appointment?

If your previous imaging was not done at one of our locations, you may be asked to contact your former provider and request that your film be sent to us for a comparison study.

How should I prepare for my exam?

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.

Let us know about any of the following:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy - known or possible
  • Recent chemotherapy (within 30 days)

You will begin preparation two days prior to your exam. The purpose of the preparation is to cleanse your colon to better detect any polyps. The instructions are located in the colonoscopy prep kit, and include a recommended menu to be followed for two days before the exam. This diet, combined with the colon cleansing medicines provided in the kit, will remove stool from your colon. If you did not receive this kit from your healthcare provider, you may get one from the Suburban Imaging office where your exam is scheduled. The kit should be obtained at least 3 days prior to your exam.

Same day diagnostic exams may be scheduled after a failed traditional colonoscopy. A prep kit will be given to you by your referring healthcare provider and the exam will be performed two hours following the prep.

Please let us know if you have an insulin pump or glucose monitor. Our imaging machines may cause your device to malfunction, so it will need to be removed during your exam.

How long will my exam take?

Although the screening takes less than ten minutes, you should allow one hour for the entire procedure. You do not need a driver to accompany you.

What happens during my exam?

You will be asked to lie on a cushioned, moveable table, and positioned comfortably with pillows to maintain the proper position for the exam. A small, flexible rubber tube will be placed in your rectum to allow carbon dioxide to inflate the colon. The purpose of the carbon dioxide is to distend the colon to eliminate folds and wrinkles that may obscure the radiologist's view.

The table will move slowly through the machine for the CT exam. You will hear slight buzzing, clicking and whirling sounds as the machine captures the images. A CT scan is taken while you lie on your back, and once again on your stomach. This allows any fluid in the colon to move from one side to the other, creating the best possible pictures of the entire colon.

For the best quality images, you need to be as still as possible during the exam. You may be asked to hold your breath for approximately 20 seconds while the images are acquired. Once the scan is done the tube is gently removed.

A virtual colonoscopy typically lasts less than 30 minutes.

What happens after my exam?

Your images will be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist (doctor) specializing in abdominal imaging. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider.

Is the CT Colonography Examination Covered by Insurance?

A few insurance providers cover CT Colonography, but it is always best to check with your plan before scheduling a procedure. Often, patients are reimbursed through flexible medical spending accounts. If a polyp is found in your CT Colonography exam and colonoscopy is recommended, this should be covered by insurance.

Do I Need a Physician's Referral for the CT Colonography Examination?

No. Although a referral is not required, we strongly encourage patients to work closely with their primary care physician to formulate a complete preventative care plan.