CT Scanning  |  CT Colonscopy  |  CT Calcium Scoring


Private appointments for this procedure can be made at the Maidstone Hospital.

What is a Virtual Colonoscopy
Also known as CT Colonography, Virtual Colonoscopy involves using a CT scanner to produce two and three dimensional images of the large bowel. During a virtual colonoscopy, gas will be introduced via a small flexible tube that has been placed in the rectum/back passage to inflate the bowel. Most people feel only a little discomfort as the tube is carefully inserted into the rectum. You may briefly feel pain similar to having trapped wind and the urge to go to the toilet, but as the colon is empty this will not happen. Most people pass some wind; there is no need to feel embarrassed about this as the staff expect this to happen. The radiographer will then perform two scans. The scans will be performed with you first lying on your back and then on your front. Your radiographer will ask you to keep still and to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan. In this way the Consultant Radiologist can then look at the images produced of the bowel and perform a "virtual tour" checking the colon for any abnormalities. During the scan a contrast dye will be injected which highlights your blood vessels.

If you wish to make an appointment at the Maidstone Hospital for this procedure, you may find it useful to read the following information, which will be given to you prior to your appointment:

If you take Aspirin, Warfarin, Clopidogrel (Plavix) or Glucophate (Metformin), please let us know as soon as possible by phoning 01622 225338 between the hours of 8.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.

You should continue to take medication prescribed by your doctor, but do not take any medicine to correct diarrhoea or constipation during the two days before your appointment. Please let us know if you have any of the following conditions when you arrive for the test:

  • Asthma
  • Kidney problema
  • Glaucoma angina or other heart related illnesses
  • Allergies
  • If you have had a previous reaction to iodine or intravenous contrast
  • Diabetes

Preparations for your examination
Whilst in clinic you should have been given a prescription for 3 sachets of Picolax which is a special laxative to be taken to prepare you for this examination and a diet sheet. If you have not received these, please contact your consultant's secretary.

The Examination
This examination will be performed in the Gallagher Suite situated in the X ray department next to A & E. If you are not sure where to go, please ask at the main hospital reception desk.

We try to see you within 30 minutes of your appointment time, but this is not always possible due to emergencies.

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown for the examination. Please bring your own dressing gown to wear over this.

After the examination
In most cases patients will be able to go home 20 minutes after the test. However, we may be able to offer some patients a 'same day' endoscopy if an abnormality is found. In those 20 minutes you may eat and drink normally, and this will be advised by the radiographer. Try to have extra fluids, fruit and vegetables for a day or two after your test - a high residue diet will help restore normal bowel function (e.g. all-bran, wholemeal bread etc).

You might have a stomach ache for an hour or two after the examination due to the air put in during the examination.

You may be given a small injection in your arm to help to relax your bowel. This may cause slight blurring of vision for a short time. If it does you will need to wait until your vision returns to normal before driving, or make arrangements for someone to come with you.

Are there any risks?
Virtual colonoscopy is generally regarded as a very safe test. Problems can occur rarely, and if they do, they are similar to those which could happen with other methods of examining the large bowel. These include:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Feeling faint
  • Reaction to injected contrast
  • Damage to the bowel wall (very rarely a small tear may occur in the lining of the colon or rectum, though fewer than 1 in 3000 examinations.

We will do our best to make your visit as comfortable and stress free as possible, if you have any questions or are unable to keep this appointment please telephone the CT department on 01622 225338 between 8.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m., or if you prefer you can call into the department to discuss any queries or concerns you may have.