With a specialist interest in colonic imaging, Dr Shah explains his preferred technique for CT colonography.
A CT colonogram is a type of scan used to examine both the large bowel, and the organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas. It is used when patients have symptoms such as bleeding from the back passage, blood in the stools, a change in their bowel habit with new constipation or new diarrhoea, loss of weight or pain. It is being used increasingly because it gives information about the large bowel such as polyps or cancers, but also information about the organs and blood vessels within the abdomen.
Traditionally, laxatives were given to clear the large bowel for this scan. However, Dr Shah uses a method of “painting” the stools within the large bowel so that laxatives do not need to be used. Three small doses of an xray dye are taken the day before the scan, and in addition, a low residue diet is followed for 2 days. Patients have found this method to be far more comfortable than taking laxatives. Dr Shah has also found that this method has improved the quality of the scans. For diabetic patients, there is no need to change insulin or tablet doses and no need to fast.
The two main alternative tests are a barium enema and a colonoscopy (camera test). Barium enemas are no longer performed in many hospitals as a CT colonogram is more likely to pick up any problems with the large bowel, and it provides no information about the abdominal organs. A colonoscopy examines the large bowel but provides no information about the organs, and is felt to be less comfortable than a CT colonogram by many patients.
For further information about this test, or to arrange an appointment, please contact the radiology department on 0116 265 3038.