If you would like to schedule a Virtual Colonoscopy, please call our scheduling department at 212-263-8868 and they will schedule your appointment. Once you have an appointment scheduled, please either ask your physician to fax a prescription to 212-263-2290 or you can bring the prescription with you at the time of the exam. The prescription should say: "Virtual Colonoscopy" and the clinical indication should be: "Screening" (see sample prescription). You will not be able to have this exam without a prescription from your physician. If you have any questions regarding this exam, please contact Ann Morrison at 212-263-8817.
The exam requires a 24 hour bowel preparation similar to the colonoscopic examination. The recommended prep is Fleet Prep Kit 1. You can follow the instructions for the 24 hour prep or download it from this website in the "Preparing for an Exam" page. It is important that you specify Kit 1, a "Fleet enema" is not a sufficient prep for this study. The Fleet Kit 1 is inexpensive, and is readily available at any local pharmacy.
In general, screening tests are performed with the assumption that the patient will be NOT have any abnormality; rather, the purpose of the test is to confirm that the patient is "disease free". However, if an abnormality (polyp) is found on the Virtual Colonoscopy you will then have to undergo traditional colonoscopy performed by a gastroenterologist in order to confirm the findings and surgically remove any polyps.
The fee for this virtual colonoscopy screening exam is $900. Since health insurers, including Medicare, do not yet cover this screening exam at this time because it is a "screening, elective examination", payment is expected at the time of service.
Bowel preparation is necessary to insure that results are most accurate. Be sure to follow the instructions for the 24 hour Fleet Prep Kit 1 or the EZEM Lo-So Bowel Cleansing System (see below). We prefer these preparations because it leaves the colon with the least possible fluid and produces clear pictures of the colonic surface making recognition of the smallest polyp easiest. Without a preparation, the normal debris and residue within the colon can be confused as polyps which might cause an unnecessary colonoscopy. Alternatively, large amounts of residual colonic content may hide small polyps and make the test much less useful.
The Fleet Kit 1 preparation uses PhosphoSoda. The EZEM Lo-So prep uses magnesium citrate. This in combination with the water or clear liquid you drink provides a large amount of fluid which washes the colonic surface. The bisacodyl tablets stimulate the colon to contract squeezing out the excess fluid. Finally, the suppository cleans the rectum of any final residue. When the instructions are followed, the cleansing afforded by these preps is reliable and well tolerated by virtually all patients.
If you suffer from heart disease, or are taking heart medication, please consult with your doctor to be sure that this preparation is best for you. Alternatives (polyethylene glycol or Golytely ®) may be prescribed for you.