PREPARATION REQUIRED: The large intestine must be as clean as possible before beginning this exam. Retained bowel contents can hide or falsely mimic abnormalities. Please see instructions for using LIQUIPREP BOWEL EVACUANT KIT.

DESCRIPTION: The most common and thorough examination of the colon is a Barium Enema performed with both air and barium. Because the colon is a large, tubelike structure, it is necessary to fill it in order to see it on x-rays. Picture the colon as a long narrow balloon into which a thick, white substance is introduced. When the colon has been filled, the barium is then allowed to drain out through a tube in the rectum. Air is then introduced through the same tubing thereby inflating the colon so the Radiologist may visualize the colon from one side through to the other.

Patient will be asked to remove all clothing and put on a gown. A “scout” film will be taken by the Technologist prior to the procedure beginning. The patient will be lying on his/her back on the x-ray table for this film. The purpose of the scout film is to demonstrate what the abdomen looks like without any barium or air. The procedure will begin after the Technologist shows the scout film to the Radiologist. An enema tube will be placed in the patient’s rectum. On the tip of the tube there is a small balloon which will be inflated after insertion, making it easier for the patient to hold the tube within the rectum. The Radiologist will control the flow of a thick barium through the tube into the colon. By asking the patient to turn from one side to the other, the Radiologist watches on a monitor as the colon fills with barium. After sufficient barium has flowed into the colon, the Radiologist will allow the majority of the barium to flow out through the tubing, leaving only a residual coating on the walls of the colon. Then air is introduced via a slow pumping device through the same tube. The air inflates the colon somewhat allowing a “see through” type of picture. By moving the table into an upright position the air is allowed to fill the upper portion of the colon. Various table positions and patient positions are needed to properly visualize the entire colon. After the Radiologist has finished his/her portion of the exam, the Technologist must take several films, demonstrating the entire colon on each film. Again, the patient will be asked to move into various positions for these films.

TOTAL TIME REQUIRED: Approximately one hour.

FOLLOW-UP INFORMATION FOR THE PATIENT: Following this exam, you may expect to be crampy or gaseous for the remainder of the day. It is uncommon for a patient to completely evacuate the air immediately after the study.