Thanks to leading-edge technology like the new virtual colonoscopy, patient screening measures for one of the most preventable types of cancer—colon cancer—just got an incredible boost.

Virtual Colonoscopy Prep

Several days prior to your test, you will need pick up your preparation kit at your pharmacy. You will also need 2 Barium tablets and 1 bottle of Liquid Barium at the ODC at MeadowView Lane.

Two Days Prior to Your Virtual Colonoscopy

Two days prior to your test, you should have a full liquid diet all day. No solid foods but you may have any type of liquids (including milk and milk products). Take a barium tablet at dinnertime and drink 50Ml of the liquid barium with 8 oz. of water at bedtime. Clear liquids only after midnight.

One Day Prior to Your Virtual Colonoscopy

The day prior to your virtual colonoscopy, you should have a clear liquid diet only. This includes chicken or beef broth, ginger ale, Sprite, Coke or Pepsi products, coffee or tea (without cream), apple juice or white grape juice, Jello, popsicles and Gatorade (NO RED or PURPLE).

YOU MUST DRINK ALL OF THE CLEAR LIQUIDS LISTED IN THE INSTRUCTIONS below. You may drink more but no less. You may start clear liquids when you wake up.

12 Noon – Take the second barium tablet and mix the remaining liquid barium with 8 oz of water.

1 PM – Drink at least 8 oz of clear liquids.

2 PM – Drink at least 8 oz of clear liquids.

2:30 PM – Drink at least 8 oz of clear liquids.

3 PM – Start Fleet prep kit #1 and follow our instructions. Drink 1.5 oz of Fleet Phos-phosoda at 3 p.m. You may divide it into three parts, mixing each part with 1-2 oz of water. Drink one part, wait a few minutes, and drink another. Repeat until gone.

5 PM – Drink at least 8 oz of clear liquids.

6 PM – Drink at least 8 oz of clear liquids.

8 PM – Take 4 Fleet Bisacodyl tablets and do not drink anything after midnight.

The Day of Your Virtual Colonoscopy

On the day of the procedure, please DO NOT EAT or DRINK anything (unless you have an afternoon appointment of 1 p.m. or later; in which you may have one item on the clear liquid diet before 8 a.m.). Use the suppository 1 hour before you leave home.

What is a Virtual Colonoscopy?

Virtual colonoscopy relies on advances in CT scanning to produce high quality, 3D images of the colon, able to detect tumors and precancerous lesions (polyps) in the colon.

“With virtual colonoscopy, we’re visualizing both the interior and exterior of the colon, whereas conventional colonoscopy is limited to visualizing only the interior of the colon,” explains HMG Gastroenterologist Dallas Shone, MD.

The virtual scan also allows for the examination of the other organs of the abdomen and pelvis.

What are the benefits of a Virtual Colonoscopy?

For the patient, the best part is that the scan takes only 10 minutes, does not require sedation, and involves only minimal discomfort. Patients can literally return to their normal activities immediately.

“Many patients put off this very important test because they don’t want to undergo the unpleasant experience of a traditional colonoscopy,” explains Samantha Sizemore, HMG radiology manager. “We’re hoping the ease of the new virtual colonoscopy will save lives.”

Additionally, because the procedure is much less invasive, it is most excellent for patients on blood thinning medications.

Because there is minimal risk of puncturing the colon, patients do not have to stop their medications. It’s also excellent for patients who have breathing difficulties and are at increased risk when undergoing anesthesia.

Is the Virtual Colonoscopy right for you?

Patients who are over 50 are encouraged to talk with their primary care provider about recommended colon screening measures, including the new virtual colonoscopy. At this time, not all insurance plans provide coverage for a virtual colonoscopy. Patients are encouraged to verify coverage with their insurance provider.