A barium enema is a specific test done using fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous x-ray image on a monitor. Fluoroscopy uses x-ray to produce real-time video images. This type of exam requires an enema solution to take pictures of the lower part of the large intestine. This test will show if there is anything wrong with the inside of your child’s intestines, and how well they are working.
Before the Barium Enema
Since preparation depends on the indications (in other words, the reasons why the test is being performed), it is best to directly ask your doctor how your child specifically should physically prepare. Before the test, please use simple language to explain to your child what they should be expecting for the test.
Please view our general instructions about how to prepare for your child's medical imaging procedure.
During the Barium Enema
Children can bring their favorite stuffed animal or blanket with them. During the test, one parent can stay with the child.
A technologist will escort you and your child and bring you into our x-ray room. Your child will then change into a gown and be asked to lie down on a table. After that, the test will begin.
We will start the exam with plain x-rays of your child’s abdomen.
The technologist will then gently insert a lubricated tube (enema tube) into your child’s rectum. This may be uncomfortable, but if your child holds very still, it will help us finish fast. The tube is connected to a bag that holds a liquid containing barium sulfate. Contrast is a safe substance used to help highlight parts of the colon, which will help create a clearer picture.
The technologist will then use a large camera to take images of your child’s colon. The technologist will help your child turn as they lie on the table. They will have to turn to one side to the other, and they may have to lay their belly as well. This movement helps our radiologist see the body from different angles. It is important that your child holds very still when the camera takes the picture so we can get the best results.
After the Test
After the radiologist leaves, the technologist may have to take more pictures. Once the radiologist gets the information needed, the exam will end. Your child can then clean up and get dressed in the bathroom before you go home.
After the test, it is important to have your child drink a lot to help get the barium out of their body. Water, juices and Kool-Aid work best. It is possible that when they go to the bathroom it may look white for the next day or two. This is normal; it is just the contrast leaving the body. The more your child drinks, the faster the white color will fade. Also, your child can return to school as soon as they feel up to it.
After the images have been reviewed by the radiologist, the results will be reported directly to your referring physician. Your referring physician will discuss the findings and the plan of care with you.