Preoperative fasting is required for both examinations, for 2-3 days before the procedure you should ingest only liquid food which leaves no remains in the intestines.
In the X-ray examination of the digestive tract we use a milky drink which contains barium. Barium is not absorbed from the intestines into the body, rather it passes through the digestive tract and is eventually excreted naturally. Since barium absorbs X-rays, it leaves an image on the X-ray screen or film, and from multiple sequential images we obtain a film projection of the digestive system in one plane. It provides useful information about the position of the examined organ, possible abnormal growths, strictures or flow obstructions.
In this way, we are able to perform X-ray imaging of the stomach, oesophagus and duodenum in only about 15 to 20 minutes. If a small bowel series is required, we proceed with periodic scanning until the contrast agent reaches the large intestine, which can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on the speed of the flow of the contrast through the small intestine.
X-ray examination of large intestine is called irigography. In this case, you will not have to swallow the barium, it will be injected into the rectum like with enema. The examination takes less than 1 hour and requires some preparation (cleansing) of the intestines the day before. When you arrange for an appointment, a nurse will explain how to prepare.
After the exam it is advisable to increase your fluid intake to facilitate the discharge of barium contrast, which thickens the consistency of stool. However, can resume your normal activities right away. Please, attend the examination dressed in loose, comfortable clothes that are easy to take off and put on. We also kindly request that you leave the jewellery at home.