Virtual colonoscopy is generally safe. Risks include:

  • Tear (perforation) in the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are inflated with air or carbon dioxide during the test and this carries a small risk of causing a tear.
  • Exposure to a low level of radiation. Virtual colonoscopy uses a small dose of radiation to create the images of your colon and rectum. Doctors use the lowest dose of radiation possible to create a clear image. Generally this is about the same as the amount of natural radiation you might be exposed to in two years, and much less than the amount used for a diagnostic CT scan.