Small Bowel X-Ray

A small bowel X-ray is an exam using barium to visualize the small bowel. It is used to detect abnormalities or obstructions in your small bowel.

Radiation is used for this exam. Please notify your doctor if you are pregnant.

Before Your Procedure

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight.
  • Continue to take your medications with a sip of water up until 4 hours before the exam.
  • If you are diabetic, your doctor may adjust your diabetic agents.

During Your Procedure

  • You will be given barium to drink. Barium is a liquid that outlines the bowel.
  • X-rays are then taken at timed intervals as the barium moves through your bowel. Everyone is different, so transit time of the barium through the small bowel is variable.
  • Typically the exam takes between 1 and 2 hours, but it may be longer.

After Your Procedure

  • You may resume your regular diet.
  • Your stools may be light colored or chalky, this is normal.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (if you are not on a fluid restriction) to help move the barium through your system, otherwise you may become constipated.
  • If you have not had a bowel movement in 3 days after the exam, contact your doctor. You may be instructed to use a laxative.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

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