Barium Studies: Overview

A study of the stomach and lower intestines (digestive system) used for detecting strictures (narrowing), reflux, hiatal hernias, ulcers, polyps, diverticulosis, diverticulae. The following gastric procedures are performed in our designated facilities.

  • Upper GI Series (Barium Meal) or Barium Swallow (esophagus)
  • Double Contrast Barium Enema
  • Small Bowel Meal

What are an Upper GI Series and Small Bowel Meal?

An upper GI series is an x-ray exam of the oesophagus, stomach, and first part of the small bowel. It utilizes a special form of real time x-ray called fluoroscopy and contrast material called barium. In addition, gas-producing granules are given to improve the diagnostic quality of the images.

A small bowel follow through is a similar study that focuses on the remainder of the small bowel again using barium. This test requires images to be taken at set time intervals until the barium reaches the end point of the small bowel. Once this has been established a Radiologist will introduce carbon dioxide and use fluoroscopy to better assess the small bowel.

What is Double Contrast Barium Enema?

Double contrast barium enema is a test using barium and carbon dioxide to evaluate the large bowel (colon) including the rectum. A Radiologist will fill the colon with barium and take X-ray images as the colon is filled. At the end of the exam, a Technologist will take a few additional X-ray images.