X-Rays : Barium Enema

This test is an x-ray examination of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Abnormalities of the colon (large intestine) such as tumors or polyps can be identified. The colon is made visible on x-ray through the use of a radiopaque contrast material known as barium. The barium is instilled through the rectum to "back fill" the colon, followed by an abdominal x-ray. This test is relatively uncomfortable, requiring the patient to "retain" the barium in the colon for the duration of the x-rays.

Air/contrast barium enema uses a combination of liquid barium and air to obtain even more detailed x-ray pictures of the colon. Lower GI endoscopy has lessened the usefulness of x-ray studies in some patients. Constipation may be a side effect of the test, making it necessary for the patient to drink large amounts of water following the exam. Use of a laxative or enema may also be helpful. A more serious potential complication is intestinal perforation (more common in air contrast studies). Occurrence of this complication is rare (1 in 5,000 studies). Any development of abdominal pain, fever, or rectal bleeding after the examination should be investigated by your doctor.

***** REMEMBER *****

* Some preparation is needed for the exam. The colon must be completely clear of stool to make the exam accurate. The patient will be asked to follow a "prepregimen" that will include laxatives and refraining from eating or drinking the day of the exam.

* Radiation exposure for this test is relatively high when compared to that of the other diagnostic x-ray studies. Higher levels of radiation (much higher than that level used in medical diagnostics) have been associated with certain diseases (cancer) and birth defects in early pregnancy.


Abdominal Ultrasound
Abdominal X-Ray
Allergy Testing
Amylase Blood Test
Arterial Blood Gases
Barium Enema
Blood Chemistry
Blood Coagulation Test
Blood Cultures
Blood Glucose Test
Blood Test Smac 25
Bone Marrow Biopsy Aspiration
Cardiac Catheterization Angioplasty
Cardiac Enzymes
Cholesterol Blood Test
Complete Blood Count
CT Scanning Back
CT Scanning Chest Abdomen
Drug Levels
Glucose Tolerance Test
Hepatitis Blood Test
HIV Blood Test
Kidney Biopsy
Kidney Blood Test
Liver Biopsy
Liver Blood Test
Lymph Node Biopsy
Mononucleosis Test
Peritoneal Lavage
Pregnancy Blood Test
Prostate Specific Antigen
Skin Biopsy
Spine X-Rays
Thyroid Biopsy
Thyroid Blood Test

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