X-rays are a form of radiation like light or radio waves. X-rays are higher in energy and when the x-ray beam is directed to the body part to be x-rayed the x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through the body and can penetrate the body so that internal structures can be obtained. The image is captured on a photographic film or screen and this becomes the digital image. The image is in then stored in our PACS information system.
When performing barium studies such as an upper GI, barium swallow or a barium enema Fluoroscopy is used. Fluoroscopy uses a continuous x-ray beam to create a sequence of images that are projected onto a monitor. When the patient is having a UGI they will drink the liquid barium which resembles a light colored milkshake, this will appear bright white on the monitor. The radiologist will watch the barium pass through the esophagus, stomach and digestive tract and take pictures. UGI studies are used to evaluate ulcers, tumors, inflammation of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. This test can also detect hiatal hernias, scarring, blockages, and abnormalities of the muscular wall of the GI tissues. The prep for the UGI is nothing to eat or drink after midnight prior to the study you will also be told to drink a lot of liquids for the next couple of days to prevent constipation.
The barium Enema or lower GI is also done using barium. The barium is inserted through a tube which is placed in the patient’s rectum. The barium is then pumped into the large intestine until the entire colon is coated with the barium. The radiologist will be taking pictures the entire time the colon his filling asking you to move or turn. You will fill some cramping and pressure during the test. Barium enemas are done to detect cancer and diverticulitis. The procedure is also performed for diarrhea, blood in stools, constipation, weight loss, abdominal pain and change in bowel habits. The before your exam you will be asked only eat or drink clear liquids after midnight no food or drink. You will also be instructed to take a laxative the day before.