Lower GI (Barium Enema, Colon Exam)
A Lower GI is a study of the large intestine. Contrast (barium or gastrograffin) is inserted through a rectal tube to diagnose abnormalities in the large intestine, such as tumors, polyps, diverticulitis, colitis, abscesses.
How do I prepare for the exam?
Have a clear liquid lunch the day before the exam, and nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
Use an Evac-Q-Kit prep kit the evening prior to the exam. This will induce loose stools.
What can I expect during the exam?
The technologist will start by taking an abdomen X-ray to ensure that the colon is empty.
You will then be lie on your left side so the enema tube may be inserted into the rectum. The enema tube is soft, flexible and about the diameter of a thumb.
A balloon will be puffed with air after the tip is inserted to help hold it in; while the urge to push may be present, it is important to remain as relaxed as possible.
The radiologist will look at the abdomen again with under fluoro (live x-rays) to confirm proper placement of the enema tube. The barium or gastrograffin will then be inserted into the colon.
You will roll to various positions to help coat the entire colon. Upon successful filming, the contrast material will be drained into a bag, and the tube removed.
You will be permitted to use the bathroom to expel any remaining contrast, and one more image will be obtained to determine if there is any residual contrast in the colon.
The exam will take about 60 minutes.
What can I expect after the exam?
Drink plenty of water for two days following the exam. It is not uncommon for stools to be white or gray as the contrast is expelled from your system.