Fluoroscopic exams

Fluoroscopy is a special type of x-ray that allows a radiologist to examine different parts of your body. Fluoroscopy is done in a special suite in the radiology department with equipment that allows a radiologist see the organs and tissues in your body in motion. Most fluoroscopic exams require the use of x-ray contrast dye to better see the organs in your body. The images of your body will appear on a monitor like a TV screen. Exams using a contrast called barium such as Upper GI and Barium Enemas use the fluoroscopic instrument.

Preparing for barium enema

What is a barium enema?

A barium enema examination is a common procedure done to visualize the colon and rectum.

The purpose is to detect:

  • Polyps,
  • Inflammation,
  • Diverticula
  • and other changes in the colon that may require medical intervention.

Barium is a liquid which shows tissue structure of the colon separate from the other organs in the abdomen. The barium must be retained while a series of x-rays are taken. An air contrast barium enema uses an additional contrast, which is air. The procedure takes less than one hour.

What is the preparation?

  • It is essential for the colon (sometimes called the large bowel) to be empty and clean.
  • Your physician’s office or hospital will give you complete instructions on the preparation to include a liquid diet the day before the examination.
  • Any woman who thinks she may be pregnant should inform her doctor before scheduling the procedure.
  • Please check with your health care provider about taking medications prior to your exam.

What is the examination like?

You will be asked to change into an x-ray gown for this procedure and lie on the x-ray table with the equipment positioned above you. A lubricated enema tip will be inserted into your rectum. A radiologist will use the x-ray equipment and watch as the barium flows into your colon. You will be asked to turn from side to side as the images are taken. For air contrast barium enema’s, the barium may be drained back into the enema bag after the colon has been coated and then air will be introduced into the colon to provide a double contrast. (Barium and air) After a series of x-rays are completed, you will be allowed to go to the bathroom and expel the barium and air. You may notice evidence of barium in your stool for the next few days.

What do you need to do after the procedure?

It is important to maintain your regular diet and drink lots of water throughout the day – 6-8 glasses. This will allow your colon to be sufficiently cleansed of barium and avoid constipation. After this procedure you may resume normal activities.

What about the results?

Once the examination is completed, the x-rays will be studied by the radiologist and compared to any previous examinations of the same area you may have had previously. A written report of the radiologist interpretation will be forwarded to your physician. Please allow a few days before contacting your physician for the results.

Pre and Post Instructions – Upper GI Series/Small Bowel

What is an upper GI Series?

The upper GI stands for the upper Gastrointestinal area. This is a common procedure used to visualize the stomach and small intestines. It may be referred to as a barium swallow when the exam is performed for the pharynx or esophagus only.

The upper GI series can identify and locate:

  • ulcers,
  • obstructions,
  • polyps,
  • and other inflammatory diseases of the stomach and small intestines.

An upper GI examination takes less than one hour. The small bowel examination immediately follows the upper GI to watch the flow of barium throughout the small intestine until it reaches your colon (large intestine).  Time-delayed pictures are taken and checked with the radiologist. A small bowel examination can last from 1 to 4 hours.

What is the preparation?

FASTING: In order to adequately prepare your stomach for an upper GI you may not eat or drink 10 hours prior to you examination time, including the morning of your exam.

What is the examination like?

You will be asked to remove your clothing and put on an x-ray gown. You will stand against the x-ray table and the x-ray equipment will be positioned in front of you. You will be given a carbonated beverage and a barium drink to swallow when instructed by the radiologist. You may be given thick barium as well as thin barium. Barium is a liquid contrast medium that looks like a milkshake and may be flavored. When you swallow this liquid, it coats the throat and stomach so the radiologist can see the soft tissue structure. The radiologist will watch as you drink the barium contrast and will take x-ray images. The x-ray table will be moved to a lying down position. You will be asked to turn from side to side and more images will be taken. If you are having a small bowel examination, the Radiologic Technologist will take images every 15-30 minutes to watch the progression of the barium through your small intestines until it reaches your large intestine. After this procedure you may resume normal activities.

What do you need to do after the procedure?

It is very important to maintain your regular diet and drink lots of water throughout the day – 6 to 8 glasses. This will allow your intestinal tract to be sufficiently cleansed of the barium and to avoid constipation.

What about the results?

Once the exam is completed, the x-rays will be studied by the radiologist and compared to any available prior examinations of the same area. A written report of the findings will be forwarded to your physician.. Please allow a few days before contacting your physician for the results.