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Irrigoscopy (Barium enema)

One of radiological methods of investigation of the colon using a radiopaque substance. Barium enema is performed after the introduction into the rectum of barium sulfate (contrast material) or barium suspension in combination with air (double contrast method).

GVM International uses state-of-the-art irrigoscopy equipment for better imaging, so examinations are of high-quality, informative, quick and painless.

During the barium enema doctor receives the following information about the patient’s colon:

  • Localization of the divisions of the large intestine
  • Anatomic features of the colon
  • Shape and diameter of the colon.
  • Filling corporal of the colon
  • Reflux of contrast into the small intestine
  • Output of the contrast in a border of the colon
  • Shadows of foreign bodies in the large intestine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stools
  • A change in your bowel movements
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Polyps
  • Rectal bleeding
  • A twisted loop of the bowels (volvulus)
  • Ulcerative colitis

Your bowels need to be completely empty for the exam. If they are not empty, the test may miss a problem in your large intestine.

You will be given instructions for cleansing your bowel using an enema or laxatives. This is also called bowel preparation. Follow the instructions exactly.

For 1 to 3 days before the test, you need to be on a clear liquid diet.

How the procedure is performed

A barium enema typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes and is performed at a hospital or specialized testing facility. You’ll change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry or other metal from your body. Metal can interfere with the X-ray process.

You’ll be positioned on an exam table. X-rays will be taken to ensure that your bowels are clear. This may also involve a physical rectal exam.

The radiologist will then insert a small tube into your rectum and introduce the barium and water mixture. The radiologist may gently push air into your colon after the barium has been delivered in order to allow for even more detailed X-ray images. This is called an air-contrast barium enema.

The technician will instruct you to hold still and hold your breath while the X-ray images are taken. You’ll most likely be repositioned several times to take pictures of your colon from different angles. This may cause you some discomfort and cramping, but it’s typically mild.

If you’re having trouble keeping the solution in your colon, alert the technician.

After the procedure, the majority of the barium and water will be removed through the tube. The rest you’ll pass in the bathroom.

Abnormalities diagnosed with barium enema:

  • Blockage of the large intestine (Hirschsprung disease)
  • Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Cancer in the colon or rectum
  • Sliding of 1 part of the intestine into another (intussusception)
  • Small growths that stick out of the lining of the colon, called polyps
  • Small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner lining of the intestine, called diverticulosis
  • Twisted loop of the bowel (volvulus)
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe heart failure
  • Peritonitis
  • Ongoing intestinal bleeding

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