Barium enema

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What is a contrast enema?

A contrast enema examination is a series or X-rays taken to show your child’s large bowel, colon and rectum, by injecting into the bowel.

What happens in a contrast enema examination?

The contrast enema is a test carried out in the Medical Imaging Department at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.  In this examination, a series or X-rays are taken of your child’s large bowel.

The test is performed in a room with an X-ray table and a large camera above it.  The camera is linked to a television screen where an X-ray image of the bowel can be observed.

The doctor / nurse will lie your child on their side while inserting a thin lubricated plastic tube called a catheter into the rectum through the anus and will adhere it in place with medical tape.  Your child will feel some discomfort when the catheter is inserted.

After the insertion of the catheter, contrast will then be injected into the bowel through the catheter and your child will feel distension in the abdomen.  The contrast will flow through the large bowel and temporarily coat the inside lining of the colon and rectum.  As the bowel fills with contrast, loops of bowel will be seen on the television screen, which helps to show the normal bowel contour, patency and position.  A series of X-ray’s will be taken in different directions.

The pictures are checked and the test is complete.

Your child can then go to the toilet.

Medical Preparation.

Staff will inform you at booking of any preparation.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead

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