The lower GI examination is usually done on an outpatient basis and is often scheduled in the morning to reduce the patient’s fasting time.
Our expert radiographers will be there to guide you through the procedure.
You will be positioned on the examination table and an x-ray film is taken to ensure the bowel is clean.
After performing a rectal examination, the radiologist will then insert a small tube into the rectum and begin to instill, using gravity, a mixture of barium and water into the colon. Air may also be injected through the tube to help the barium thoroughly coat the lining of the colon. In some circumstances, the radiologist or referring physician may prefer a water and iodine solution rather than barium.
As the barium fills your colon, you will feel the need to move your bowel. You may feel abdominal pressure or even minor cramping. Most people tolerate the mild discomfort easily. The tip of the enema tube is specially designed to help you hold in the barium. If you are having trouble, let our team know.
Next, a series of x-ray images are taken. To improve the quality fo the image you must try to remain still during the examination. The radiographer will go into the adjoining room to activate the machine and will be able to see, hear and speak to you for the duration of the exam.
You may be repositioned frequently in order to image the colon from several angles. Some x-ray equipment will allow patients to remain in the same position throughout the examination.
When the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.
Once the x-ray images are completed, most of the barium will be emptied through the tube. You will then be allowed to expel the remaining barium and air in the restroom.
A barium enema is usually completed within 30 to 60 minutes.