Diagnostic Procedures

The Hospital of Central Connecticut offers a variety of procedures and technology to diagnose colorectal conditions.

Barium Enema

A series of X-rays is taken of the lower gastrointestinal tract. First, a liquid containing barium (a contrast material) is inserted into the rectum. The liquid coats the lower gastrointestinal tract and flows through the colon, then X-rays are taken to search for any areas of concern.


A colonoscopy is a common procedure used to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, cancer and any concerns. A colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon to view the area. The scope can also be used to remove polyps or tissue samples to be checked for cancer. Doctors often recommend a colonoscopy because it lets them look at the whole colon and remove any polyps they might find at the same time.

Digital Rectal Exam

During this exam, a doctor or nurse carefully inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any unusual lumps or other concerns.

Endorectal Ultrasound (ERUS)

Endorectal Ultrasound (ERUS) is designed specifically to diagnose anorectal diseases, including anorectal abscesses, fecal incontinence and lower rectal cancers. ERUS can capture images from 360 degrees three-dimensionally and allows doctors to:

  • Visualize The Sigmoid Colon, Not Just The Rectum, With Incredible Resolution
  • More Precisely Diagnose Problems or Injuries to The Sphincter (Muscles of Control)

In fecal incontinence patients doctors can:

  • Determine if there is an anal sphincter defect requiring repair.
  • Diagnose complex anorectal abscesses.
  • Determine the level of tissue invasion in cases of rectal cancer.


An endoscope - a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end - allows physicians to look inside the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

The FOBT is used to check a patient’s stool for blood that can only be seen with a microscope. Stool samples are placed on special cards and sent to a doctor or laboratory for testing. An FOBT may be performed to check for certain intestinal conditions or colorectal cancer.

Genetic Testing

HCC provides genetic counseling and testing for adults at risk of specific hereditary cancers, including colon cancers. Learn more about genetic testing.


Sigmoidoscopy allows doctors to look inside the rectum and the colon for polyps, abnormal areas or cancer. The doctor guides a long, flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope) into the anus and the sigmoid colon. A small camera on the scope transmits images to a computer screen.

Virtual Colonoscopy (CT Colonography)

Computed tomography creates a series of pictures and constructs a three-dimensional model of the colon. These detailed images and models allow doctors to see any abnormal areas and detect small polyps or asymptomatic colorectal cancers. 

Digestive Health