A barium enema, also known as a lower gastrointestinal (GI) exam, uses X-ray and a contrast material to capture images of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. The test is used to detect disease or other problems.
There are two types of barium enemas, a single contrast study and an air-contrast study. A single-contrast study fills the colon with barium, outlining the intestine and revealing abnormalities.
During the exam, the colon is filled with a contrast material containing barium. The use of barium causes colon to show up clearly on the X-ray images.
In an air-contrast study, the colon is first filled with barium and then drained shortly after, leaving a thin layer of barium on the wall of the colon. The colon is then filled with air, providing a detailed view of the inner surface of the colon. The test is best to see colon polyps, colorectal cancer or inflammation.
It is essential that your intestine be thoroughly cleansed before your exam. Even a small amount of stool within the intestine can hide abnormalities. Inland Imaging will provide you with a preparation kit prior to your exam. This kit will contain laxatives and a suppository.The morning two days before your exam:
- Begin your preparation kit. It is important that you follow your preparation kit instructions carefully.
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid throughout the day. You can expect abdominal cramps and loose bowel movements.
- Begin your liquid only diet, which you will continue throughout the two days prior to your exam. See below for the list of permitted liquids.
- Continue your preparation kit (instructions will be included with the kit). Again, expect abdominal cramps and loose stools.
- Continue the liquid diet until midnight.
- Do not eat or drink anything the morning of your exam.
- Insert the suppository at 6:30 a.m. according to instructions provided with the kit. This should produce one final bowel movement. Any additional stooling should be clear yellow or green without solid stool.
- If you are diabetic and require insulin, contact your doctor before starting the preparation.
- If you have been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, consult your physician for substitute laxative choices.
- If you have chronic diarrhea, discuss the preparation with your physician.
- Chicken broth, beef broth, consumme
- Gatorade, Powerade, Propel
- Juice (Apple, Cranberry, White Grape)
- Tea, herbal teas
- Ginger Ale, Sprite, 7-Up
- Flavored bottled water
- Italian ices
- Coffee (no milk or creamer)
- Solid foods, such as meat, chicken breads, vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs or cheese.
- Dairy products, such as milk, creamer, and non-dairy creamer, ice cream, whipped cream and half & half.
- Cloudy liquids such as orange juice, tomato juice, tomato soup, potato soup, and vegetable or meat soup.
Bone Densitometry (DXA)
A bone densitometry (DXA) exam is performed to measure bone loss. Using a very low energy X-ray beam, the exam produces a scan of the lumbar spine and of either the hip or forearm. The technology measures your bone mineral density (BMD) and compares it to the normal population of people who are of the same age, weight and gender.
Your doctor uses information from a bone densitometry exam to assess your bone condition, risk of fracture, and necessary treatments. If you are already undergoing treatment or therapy for osteoporosis or osteopenia, bone densitometry exams may be performed periodically to track changes in your bone density.
Prior to the exam, you will be asked to remove belt buckles, rivets, snaps, zippers, buttons or other metal objects that are over the mid-abdomen or hip areas. You will also be asked to remove your shoes.
During the exam, you will lie quietly on a comfortable, well-padded table while a "C-Arm" (X-ray tube) moves over your body. You can breathe normally during the scan, but talking is discouraged while the C-Arm is in motion.
Once your body has been scanned, a computer program will analyze the images and produce a report of the results. A copy of the images and report will be sent to your physician.
The entire exam takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
How can I prepare?
- Wear comfortable clothing, such as sweat suits or soft cotton clothing.
A hysterosalpinogram (HSG) is a fluoroscopy exam that is used to evaluate the shape of your uterus cavity and fallopian tubes.
The tool is helpful in the diagnosis of abnormalities in your uterus and conditions such as Asherman's syndrome and blocked fallopian tubes. The study is also done for women who are having a difficult time getting pregnant. Studies show that pregnancy rates increase in a cycle when an HSG has been performed.
What should I expect?
The exam is usually performed between day seven and day 10 of your menstrual cycle.
During the test, a contrast material is injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. If the fallopian tubes are open, the contrast material will fill the tubes and enter the abdominal cavity. X-ray pictures are taken with a fluoroscope as the material passes through your body.
The exam takes about 30 minutes.
A myelogram is a type of fluoroscopy exam that produces detailed real-time images of the spinal cord and spinal column. The exam is sometimes performed when an MRI can not be performed or in addition to an MRI.
The exam is helpful in the diagnosis of problems like a herniated disc or to study tumors, infection, inflammation, and spinal lesions caused by disease or trauma. A myelogram also helps physicians evaluate a condition called spinal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows and surrounding tissues enlarge due to the development of bony spurs (osteophytes).
During the exam, contrast material is injected through a needle in your lower back into the space around the spinal cord, called the subarachnoid space. An X-ray device called a fluoroscope captures real-time images as the contrast material moves around the spinal cord and nerve roots.
In many cases, the myelogram is followed by a CT to better define abnormalities. This combination of studies is known as CT myelography.
An upper gastrointestinal (GI) X-ray is a fluoroscopy exam that is used to investigate problems with the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. The study helps physicians detect and diagnose ulcers, tumors, inflammation, hiatal hernias, blockages and abnormalities of the muscular wall of gastrointestinal tissues.
The procedure is useful if a patient is having difficulty swallowing, reflux, unexplained vomiting, severe indigestion, or blood in the stool.
You will be asked to swallow a special barium drink. The radiologist will use a fluoroscope to take real-time pictures as the barium passes through the digestive tract.
You will be positioned at different angles to help move the barium through different parts of your body. After the upper gastrointestinal tract is adequately coated with the barium, more x-ray images will be taken. To prevent blurry images, you will need to remain still and hold your breath for a few seconds at a time during the X-ray.
The exam is usually completed within 20 to 30 minutes.
An exam of the upper GI is generally performed in the morning to reduce the amount of time a patient has to fast.
Women who may possibly be pregnant should notify the technologist immediately.
A voiding cysto-urethrogram (VCUG) is a fluoroscopy exam that is used to evaluate the size, shape and capacity of your bladder. It is also used to take images of the urethra, the small tube that connects the bladder with the outside of the body.
A VCUG procedure may be ordered to diagnose or rule out a condition where urine from the bladder goes upward back to the kidneys.
You will lie on the X-ray table. A nurse will place a catheter into your bladder. You may feel some pressure or the sensation to urinate. The catheter will be connected to a bottle of contrast material, which will flow through the urinary catheter into the bladder.
Once the bladder is full, you will be asked to urinate while x-rays are taken.
The exam generally takes an average of 20 to 30 minutes.
Women who may possibly be pregnant should notify the technologist immediately.