Barium Enema (Air Contrast Barium Enema)
This x-ray exam is performed to evaluate the large intestine (colon). The exam is performed in a special type of x-ray room where the Radiology doctor can look at the images while doing the test. The test can detect disorders of the large intestine such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, polyps or other disorders of the colon.
Purchase a Fleet Prep Kit from your pharmacy at least 3 days prior to your exam. Follow the instructions for the 48 hour preparation. Be sure to read the instructions well in advance of starting the prep kit and call the Radiology department at 706-867-4142 if you have any questions regarding the prep for the exam. If you do not follow the kit as instructed, your colon may not be cleansed well enough to have the exam or the radiologist may not be able to adequately visualize portions of your colon. Your procedure will then need to be rescheduled.
This exam takes approximately 30-40 minutes.
When you come for the appointment, please sign in at the front desk in our main lobby. Your personal information and insurance information will be taken by one of the admissions personnel. Then you will be called back to the Radiology department. The x-ray technologist will take an x-ray of your abdomen to determine if the prep has cleaned your colon well enough for you to have the exam. You will then be asked to change into a gown. If you have properly prepped, the technologist will have you lie on your side on the x-ray table and he/she will gently slip a lubricated enema tip into your rectum. A small balloon at the end of the tip will be inflated to hold the tip in place. The Radiologist will watch on a special TV screen attached to the x-ray unit while barium is slowly flowing into your intestine through the enema tip. You will be asked to roll into different positions on the table to help the barium coat your large intestine. The Radiologist will make some images of particular portions of your colon. Depending on your symptoms, the Radiologist may also introduce air through the enema tip. This helps to visualize the intestine lining in greater detail. At the end of the exam, the technologist will take some additional images for the Radiologist to review. The technologist will then allow most of the barium to flow out of the colon through the enema tip. After that you will be able to go to the bathroom and then the technologist will take one more x-ray of the emptied colon.
This exam can be uncomfortable. You may have some cramping as the barium enters the intestine or you may feel a strong urge to use the bathroom. The Radiologist understands your discomfort and will do the exam as quickly as possible to get a quality exam. The barium used may make your stools chalky or light colored for the next 2-3 days. It can also cause constipation so it is advisable to drink as much fluid as possible for the next few (3) days. You may also take a mild laxative if necessary for constipation.
The Radiologist will study the images and send a report to your physician within 2-3 working days.
The barium used for this exam may cause your stools to be chalky or light colored and it can cause constipation so it is advisable to drink as much fluid as possible to the next few (3) days.