University of Iowa Department of Radiology
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Creation Date: September 1985
Last Revision Date: September 1985
The purpose of this X ray is to study your colon in a controlled manner with barium (a white liquid that permits the visualization of the colon). The colon is a tube-shaped organ located in your abdomen. Its function is to assist in the absorption of digested food.
Interpretation of Results
The radiologist will interpret the results of the procedure and will report the information to your physician who in turn will discuss the report with you.
The X-ray Itself
The radiologist, a doctor who specializes in x-ray examinations and interpretation, will perform the exam using a machine called a fluoroscope. The radiologist will insert a rectal tube that allows the barium to flow into your colon in the same manner any enema would be given. The barium will then be drained out and air will be administered through the rectal tube.
You may feel cramping and full in your abdomen. Slow, deep breaths will help you relax. During the exam, the machine and x-ray table will move and you will be asked to roll in various positions. After the radiologist has completed the fluoroscopic exam, the technologist will take additional radiographs to complete the exam. After the films have been reviewed by the radiologist, you will be sent to the bathroom and allowed to expel the barium and air.
The exam will last approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
After the exam is completed you will return to your normal diet. The barium should pass normally from your colon. Your physician may order a laxative to ease the passage. If you do not have a bowel movement within three days, please inform your physician.