Small Bowel Series
What is a Small Bowel Series Exam?
This study evaluates the small intestines for inflammation, obstruction, tumors, and developmental anomalies. You will be given 2 to 3 cups of barium sulfate (inert substance opaque to x-rays) which outlines the small intestine. As barium travels through the intestines, images will be taken at timed intervals.
For a.m. appointment do not eat or drink after midnight. No smoking after midnight. For p.m. appointment, drink clear liquids after 6:00 a.m. the day of the exam.
During Your Test
You will be asked to drink barium (a liquid that outlines the inside of your esophagus on x-ray pictures). You also may swallow "fizzies," an effervescent powder that puts gas in your stomach to distend it. For the best images, you may be asked to stand or lie in different positions. When it is time to take the x-rays, you will be asked to hold your breath for a moment. You may have to wait briefly after the test to make sure the images are satisfactory.
Approximate Exam Time: 1 to 4 hours, depending on how fast your small bowel moves the contrast along.
After Your Test
You can get back to your normal diet and activities right away. But drink more water than usual. Water will help relieve any constipation you may have after this test. Your stool may appear white or light for a day or two.