A defecagram is an examination of the rectum performed for the purpose of diagnosing a tear or source of incontinence.
How do I prepare for the exam?
A cleansing enema or rectal suppository will be used the evening before as well as early on the morning of the procedure.
What can I expect during the exam?
This exam is conducted by a radiologic technologist and a radiologist.
The exam is performed in three phases.
For the first phase, you will drink a cup of diluted barium to help show the internal structures of the abdomen. After one hour, the technologist will take an image of your abdomen to ensure the barium has reached the end of the small bowel.
Once the barium has reached the desired point, you will be taken into the exam room and asked to insert a syringe of contrast material into your vagina.
You will lie on a special examination table that allows live x-rays to be taken, over a portable toilet seat. The table will be moved into a horizontal position and the technologist will insert the enema tip into the rectum. A thick barium paste will be inserted through this tube. The paste will create a feeling of fullness, but you should resist the urge to have a bowel movement.
The table will be moved back into a vertical position, so you are in a sitting position on the toilet seat. While being viewed under fluoroscopy, the radiologist will periodically ask you to bear down/push until the rectum is emptied of the barium paste.
The exam will take about 3 hours.
What can I expect after the exam?
Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your exam.