This is a small unit that is an integral part of St. Mark's Hospital. It is well equipped with modern digital screening units and ultrasound scanners, and performs specialised contrast and ultrasound studies including:
Bowel cancer affects over 34000 people in the UK each year and is the second commonest cause of cancer related death. However bowel cancer can be cured if detected at an early stage and even prevented if its precursor, the colonic polyp can be identified and subsequently removed.
Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) utilises the latest CT body scanner technology for detecting and staging colonic polyps and bowel cancer. VC offers a relatively non-invasive, patient friendly investigation whereby, a small thin flexible catheter is inserted into the bottom and carbon dioxide is used to distend the bowel. The patient then undergoes a CT scan, lasting only a few seconds. There is no requirement for sedation or pain killers. Sometimes, if an abnormality is found, the patient may be offered a 'same-day' procedure for endoscopic removal or biopsy - a 'one-stop' service highlighting the strong links between the St. Mark's Intestinal imaging Centre and The Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy.
St. Mark's/NPH believe that Virtual Colonoscopy should be available to all and we are proud of our new multidisciplinary service, which aims to be a model of practice to guide implementation of VC at other UK centres. To this aim, we co-organise the only UK Virtual Colonoscopy training workshops (Click here for workshop information ).
As with many NHS enterprises, we greatly value both individual and commercial charitable sponsorship to support our services. Additional funding will improve the quality and provision of our service for example by enabling the use of patient friendly devices such as automated gas insufflators and for improving access to dedicated training facilities at St. Mark's.
In addition the unit has close links with the Department of Radiology on the Northwick Park campus.
The following leaflets about Virtual Colonoscopy are available for patients: