Lower GI

  • Preparing for a Lower GI X-Ray

    • On the day before your appointment, please call Patient Registration at 1-978-287-3062, to pre-register Monday–Friday 7:00am–8:00pm and Saturday 7:00am–3:00pm (closed Sunday). This will enable you bypass the registration process the morning of your appointment and go directly down to the Radiology Department.
    • If you choose not to pre-register, please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment and report to Patient Registration. When you enter the main entrance, Patient Registration will be located to your left. Please sign your name on the clipboard and have your insurance card available. You will be processed as quickly as possible and sent to your scheduled appointment.
    • You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to barium or iodinated contrast materials. Also inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
    • On the day before the procedure you will likely be asked not to eat, and to drink only clear liquids like juice, tea, black coffee, cola or broth and to avoid dairy products. After midnight, you should not eat or drink anything.
    • You can take your usual prescribed oral medications with limited amounts of water.
    • You may also be instructed to take a laxative (in either pill or liquid form) and to use an over-the-counter enema preparation the night before the exam and possibly a few hours before the procedure.
    • You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.
    • You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
    • If instructed by your doctor, please complete the following.

    DAY BEFORE THE EXAM

    Lunch 1 cup of bouillon soup with crackers
    1 chicken/turkey white meat sandwich) no butter, mayo, lettuce or other additives)
    1/2 glass of clear apple juice or clear grape juice
    1 serving of plain gelatin
    1 glass of skim milk

    1:00pm Drink at least one full glass of water, clear juice or soda

    3:00pm Drink at least one full glass of water, clear juice or soda

    4:00pm Drink one 11 oz bottle of Magnesium Citrate (cold)
    (Can be purchased at your local pharmacy)

    Dinner 1 cup of bouillon soup
    1 glass of clear apple or clear grape juice
    1 serving of plain gelatin

    7:00pm Drink at least one full glass of water, clear juice or soda.
    Take 3 Bisacodyl tablets (can be purchased at your local pharmacy) with at least one full glass of water.

    Before Bed Drink at least one full glass of water, clear juice or soda.

    MORNING OF THE EXAM

    Do not eat or drink anything before your exam.

  • What to Expect During the Exam

    • For this procedure, barium or an iodine-containing liquid is gradually introduced into the colon through a tube inserted into the rectum. As the barium passes through the lower intestines, it fills the colon, allowing the radiologist to see growths or polyps and areas that are narrowed.
    • During your examination, a technologist or nurse will hold a fluroscope machine over the part of the body being examined, which transmits continuous images to a video monitor.
  • After the Exam

    • After the examination, you can resume a regular diet and take orally administered medications unless told otherwise by your doctor.
    • You may be able to return to normal activities immediately after the examination. You will be encouraged to drink additional water for 24 hours after the examination.
    • Your stools may appear white for a day or so as your body clears the barium liquid from your system. Some people experience constipation after a barium enema.
    • If you do not have a bowel movement for more than two days after your exam or are unable to pass gas rectally, call your physician promptly. You may need an enema or laxative to assist in eliminating the barium. 
  • About Lower GI Tract X-Ray Radiology (BARIUM ENEMA)

    An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.

    Lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract radiography, also called a lower GI or barium enema, is an x-ray examination of the large intestine, also known as the colon. This includes the right or ascending colon, the transverse colon, the left or descending colon, sigmoid colon and the rectum. The appendix and a portion of the distal small intestine may also be included.

    The lower GI uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material called barium or a water-soluble iodinated contrast.

    Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the lower gastrointestinal tract is filled with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the rectum, colon and sometimes part of the lower small intestine.

    For additional information visit www.radiologyinfo.org