Small Bowel Series
This x-ray exam is to study the small bowel in order to diagnosis inflammatory bowel disease, obstruction, masses or cancer. If this exam is ordered as Upper GI with small bowel please see the preparation for UGI.
Nothing to eat, drink, smoke after midnight before the exam. Please do not smoke on the day of the exam. If you are a diabetic you may take your insulin but oral medications should be taken after the exam is completed.
The procedure typically takes between 1 and 3 hours to complete. However, it may take longer.
When you arrive at the hospital, sign in at the front desk in the 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 and asked to change into a hospital gown. The technologist will give you a cup of barium to drink. You may be requested to drink another cup of the barium mixture later. The technologist will take serial x-rays to follow the progression of the barium through the small bowel. The radiologist will review these images to determine if the barium has made its way throughout the complete small bowel. After the exam is completed, you may leave the hospital and resume your normal activities. The radiologist will review the films of the study and dictate a report for your physician. The results will be available to your physician in 2-3 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.