A barium small bowel study is similar to a barium meal except that the study is targeted to look exclusively at the small intestine. The barium is introduced into the small bowel either by drinking it or directly into the small intestine via the use of a small tube inserted through the nose.
Before the Examination
Before the examination your diet must be restricted to enable the bowel to be cleaned of residue, otherwise the examination may not be completely satisfactory.
Please call into our clinic to make an appointment and collect your preparation.
Day before examination:
• Evening meal – A light meal before 7pm.
• At 8pm – Mix the contents of the PICCOLAX sachet with 120mls of water. Drink all of this mixture followed by two large glasses of clear fluids.
• Have nothing to eat after drinking the laxative.
• Clear fluids may be taken throughout the evening to satisfy thirst.
• From midnight nothing to eat, sips of water for thirst.
Please bring any previous imaging with you on the day of your examination. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask us.
On the day of the examination
In most cases, on arriving at the clinic for your scan, you will be given a barium solution to drink over the course of a few minutes – the solution coats and outlines the small bowel. Following this, serial xrays of your abdomen will be taken to monitor the progress of the barium as it travels though the bowel loops. In some people this can be quite quick, but in others it may take up to four hours.
Occasionally your doctor may ask specifically for an `Intubated small bowel study’ called Enterocolysis. This involves putting the barium directly into the stomach via a small tube (rather than drinking it). The tube is inserted into the nose after a spray of local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort. The tube is then guided to the correct position by the Radiologist (doctor) and the barium is run through this tube into the bowel while you are lying on the xray table.
The procedure will take about one hour.