This is a procedure to examine the small bowel, which is that part of the intestine that joins the stomach to the large bowel (colon). In order to see the small bowel on the X-Ray screen we coat it with fluid called barium. The whole procedure lasts approximately 45 - 60 minutes. Although this investigation is called an ‘enema’, the tube is actually passed into the small bowel.
So that we can view the small bowel clearly, it is important to empty it as much as possible. You may instruct for some laxatives tablets. At the time of appointment we will explain what to eat and drink on the day before and the day of your appointment.
What happens during the small bowel enema investigation?
The Consultant Radiologist is a doctor specialising in X-Ray procedures, and will begin by introducing some local anaesthetic into your nose and spraying the back of your throat. This may taste unpleasant for a short while, but is intended to help the passage of a long thin tube into your nose and down through to your stomach. You can help this yourself by actually swallowing the tube. You may find this uncomfortable at first but it settles down in a short while.
If you are not already lying down at this point the Radiologist will ask you to do so, so that the tube can the placed into the correct position. This can take a little while to achieve. Once that is in place, barium is run into the tube, followed by another liquid called methylcellulose to push the barium along. This sometimes makes you feel full and bloated. When all necessary pictures have been taken, the tube is removed.
We will offer you a drink and a place to sit until you feel ready to go. You may feel a little unsteady or nauseous, so it is better if someone accompanies you home.
We advise you to drink plenty of fluids to flush away the barium and you may continue with your usual diet. Your motions may appear whitish for a day or two but this is quite normal.
FCPS, Fellowship in VIR
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Radiology 242, Ultrasound 351