The lower GI tract, including the colon and rectum, are also important areas to examine. The x-ray procedure for that area is called the barium enema.
In addition to not eating breakfast, a bowel-cleansing preparation must be administered the day before the procedure to permit clearer images of the large bowel and surrounding tissues.
At the time of examination, a barium mixture is instilled through an enema tip placed in the rectum by the radiologist.
This procedure may cause some discomfort but is not painful. As it is instilled, the radiologist will examine and film the flow of barium. S sometimes, air is added to the barium mixture. The patient will be asked to move to several different positions. Patients should try to relax and hold their breath when instructed in order to avoid blurred images.
When the radiologist has completed his or her portion of the exam, the radiographer will take several more images to demonstrate various portions of the large bowel. Once the imaging sequence is finished, the technologist will assist the patient to the toilet. Afterward one or more images will be taken to demonstrate the emptied bowel.