2016-06-16 17:45:58 UTC

CT Colonography 103: Preparation

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A Vital Step


  • One vital step to get ready for CT colonography is to fully clean out the colon.
  • For many, this step can be the hardest part of the procedure.
  • You need to do this step carefully and completely, because if your colon is not cleaned out enough, your doctor will not be able to do the exam.

You should check with your health plan first to see if they will pay for this test.

There are important steps you must take to safely get ready for CT colonography. These are general instructions. Be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your doctor. 

Your doctor or nurse will review the steps with you and make sure that you know how to get ready and what you can expect during and after the test. If you have any questions, be sure to bring them up with the doctor or nurse. 

  • Give your doctor a list of all the medications you are taking and any allergies you have.
    • The list should include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, like aspirin, NSAIDs or vitamins or supplements.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications can be taken on the day of your CT colonography.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should not be taken before your CT colonography.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if you should take your medications the night before your CT colonography. 
  • Tell your doctor if you:
    • Have diabetes and what medications you are on for it.
    • Are taking blood thinners or have bleeding or blood-clotting problems.
    • Have a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices.
    • Have had stomach or bowel surgery, swallowing problems or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
    • Have heart, lung or any other health problems that may need special care before the test.
  • You will need a special diet, often clear liquids, for the day before your test. Your doctor will give you a list of what you are able to eat and drink for the days before the test.
  • Laxatives and/or enemas will be needed to clean out your colon. Your doctor will tell you which one to take and when you should use it.
  • On the day of the test, you will not be able to have any metal on you and will be asked to change into a hospital gown for the test.

CT colonography can be done in an outpatient or hospital setting. Be sure you know exactly where you need to go the day of your procedure, as it may not be the same as your doctor’s office.

Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse if there is anything you do not understand. 

CT Colonography – What to Know:
  • CT colonography is a test to look at your colon and rectum. It can be used to check for colon cancer.
  • You are not put to sleep for CT colonography.
  • Like a colonoscopy, you will need to clean out your colon before the test.
  • If a polyp or abnormality is found in your CT colonography, you will likely need a colonoscopy to remove it.


© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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