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Small Bowel Studies

Description - The small bowel examination is performed in addition to an upper GI following the ingestion of barium as it moves from the throat, into the stomach and finally into the small bowel. An additional cup of barium is then given to the patient and images are taken at time intervals determined by the radiologist until the barium has traveled through the entire small bowel to the colon.

Indication - The small bowel test is performed to assess such problems as diarrhea, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, a change in bowel habits or other findings not explained by an upper GI (gastrointestinal) series or a barium enema. The radiologist is able to identify ulcers, scar tissue, abnormal growths, blockages and signs of Crohn’s disease.

Procedure - The technologist may take an initial film of the abdomen (a scout film) to make sure the stomach and upper intestine are clean. The procedure is done on a tilting table to allow the patient to begin the exam in a standing position and then to recline. The patient may be given a small cup of effervescent crystals to swallow that allow gas to be created in the stomach for better imaging. The patient is then given a cup of barium sulfate to drink while the radiologist watches the flow of the liquid under fluoroscopy (an x-ray unit combined with a TV monitor). When the barium enters the small bowel the patient is given a second cup of barium to drink. X-rays of the abdomen are then taken at the intervals determined by the radiologist (usually 20 to 30 minutes apart). The entire procedure time varies, generally taking from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on each individual patient’s intestinal motility.

Preparation - Nothing to eat or drink for 8-10 hours prior to examination.

* This test information is intended for educational purposes only. This should not replace medical advice from your healthcare provider. Please call your healthcare provider if you have any medical questions concerning your health. For any questions regarding procedures, please contact Advanced Diagnostic P.C. office at 989-799-5699