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CT Pneumocolon – Patient Information

This patient information aims to answer some of the questions you may have about having a CT Pneumocolon. It explains what you need to do to prepare for the scan, what you can expect when you come to hospital and what happens after. If you have any further questions please speak to your consultant or the imaging department.

What is a CT Pneumocolon (also known as CT Virtual Colonoscopy)

It is a procedure, performed by a Radiologist and can be used to investigate the large bowel. This procedure will provide CT images of your bowel and can be used as a diagnostic tool. However, it cannot take samples or biopsies of areas requiring further investigation.

What will happen during your appointment

The procedure is performed in the CT scanning suite. It involves inflating the large bowel and rectum with carbon dioxide or air, via a small soft tube that is placed in the rectum. Once the bowel is inflated two CT scans are performed, one lying on your back and one lying on your front. This procedure should not be painful but some discomfort may arise from the inflation. To ease this discomfort a muscles relaxant known as Buscopan can be used as long as it is safe to do so. If you have any questions about Buscopan, please continue to our page explaining its use. The gas used in the procedure is then absorbed by your body and is naturally removed. During the first scan it is sometimes required to enhance the scan with intravenous contrast. This contrast is used to highlight your organs and provide the Radiologist with as much information as possible to get a better quality scan. To deliver this contrast it is required to put a cannula into a vein.

What do I need to do to prepare for my appointment?

A few days prior to your appointment you will receive a package from the King Edward VII Imaging Department. This package will contain the preparation instructions and the drinking preparation required for the procedure. This will explain the types of foods that you can and cannot eat on the days leading up the exam.

How do I get my results?

The radiologist will write a detailed report having read your images.  This report will be sent back to your referring doctor.  A CT scan has many images that make up the study, therefore it is very unlikely you will receive any results on the day.

FOR FEMALE PATIENTS: If there is any chance of being pregnant, please notify the department. If you take oral contraceptives, continue to take them but use other precautions for the remainder of that cycle.

If you have any queries please contact the Imaging Department on 020 7467 4327 or 4317