Virtual colonoscopy (also called CT colonography) is used to detect changes or abnormalities (including cancer) in the colon and rectum. Virtual colonoscopy uses a CT scanner and special computer software to produce detailed three-dimensional images. Both traditional colonoscopy and virtual colonoscopy require bowel preparation prior to the procedure to cleanse the colon. Unlike traditional colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy doesn't require sedation or inserting a scope into the colon.
Why choose Mayo Clinic
- Expertise. Mayo Clinic has been at the forefront in using and studying virtual colonoscopy since the technique began in 1996. Mayo Clinic published the first report in the scientific literature on the clinical effectiveness of virtual colonoscopy and was the first to offer it for routine care.
- Experience. Doctors at Mayo Clinic have performed thousands of virtual colonoscopies, and Mayo Clinic has one of the largest experiences with this technique in the world.
- Ongoing research. Researchers at Mayo Clinic continue to study ways to improve virtual colonoscopy. Mayo research to date has shown virtual colonoscopy to be a safe, effective alternative to traditional colonoscopy for colon cancer screening in many patients.
- Early cancer detection. Colonoscopy is strongly recommended as a screening test for early detection of colon cancer. One of the goals of virtual colonoscopy — as a less-invasive option — is to lead more people to get screened and, ultimately, to reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer.
Read more about virtual colonoscopy at MayoClinic.com.