Barium Enema

A barium enema is an X-ray exam of the large intestine (colon).

Preparation for Your Exam

Two days before the exam, do not eat any fruit, nuts, peas, beans, coarse cereals or fried foods. On the day before the test, your diet should be only clear liquids such as clear broth, jello, apple or cranberry juice, ginger ale, cola, tea or coffee. Do not use cream or milk. Drink as much water as possible throughout the day.

You can pick up a Fleet Prep Kit#1 at any of our imaging centers or ask your physician if the kit is available at his/her office. You can purchase a Fleet Prep Kit#1 (not to be confused with a Fleet enema) at your local pharmacy. Follow the instructions on the package for the 24-hour prep in addition to the above diet.

On the morning of the test, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test.

Special note:

If you have severe kidney disease, do not use the Fleet Prep Kit #1. Consult your physician.

Can I take my usual medication?

Essential medication may be taken with a sip of water. If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor before taking any medication on the morning of your exam.

During The Exam

A Rradiologist and a technologist will administer the barium enema. The barium mixture fills the large intestine so that it can be seen on X-ray. The Radiologist will watch the images of your intestine on a special X-ray television screen. At times, the Radiologist will ask you to change your position or hold your breath so that "snapshots" or spot films may be taken.

After these "snapshots" are taken, the technologist will take several larger films of your abdomen.

Will it Hurt?

It will be mildly to moderately uncomfortable. Sometimes there will be cramping. The Radiologist may give you an injection to relax the intestine.

How Long Will it Take?

The enema will take about 15 minutes. However, you should allow extra time for preparation and for X-rays of the colon to be taken by the technologist -- about one hour in total.

After the Exam

You may eat as soon as the exam is over. You should drink plenty of liquids to avoid constipation from the barium. If instructed by the Radiologist, you should take four tablespoons of a mild laxative such as milk of magnesia.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.