Colon X-Ray (Barium Enima)

If there is a possibility of pregnancy please inform the technologist prior to the date of your examination.


The preparation is a laxative to empty your digestive tract so that the contents do not obscure the areas to be examined. Please follow the bowel prep instructions provided. This preparation includes the need for you to purchase magnesium citrate and bisacodyl tablets from your pharmacy. A high fluid intake is essential to the success of the exam. You must take a large glass (8 oz.) of fluid at the specified times. Drink only black coffee, plain tea, strained fruit juice, soft drinks or water. No milk products. You may continue fluids until midnight.

On the morning of the colon exam

Use suppository as directed. NO FOOD OR FLUIDS, DO NOT CHEW GUM. Medication may be taken as directed with a small amount of water.

On the day of your exam

On the x-ray table, you will be given a barium enema. The contrast fluid, barium, will be given to you gently through a tube which is inserted into the rectum. You will experience a sensation similar to any cleansing enema. The radiologist will examine your abdomen by observing the colon with the fluoroscope (x-ray camera) and x-ray images. When the radiologist has completed his portion of the exam, an x-ray technologist will take some additional x-ray images and immediately take you to the bathroom. An additional x-ray image will be taken after you have expelled all of the enema. This x-ray image is used to visualize your empty bowel. The colon x-ray takes approximately 1/2 hour.

In some exams, both contrast fluid and air are given through the rectum. This is called an Air Contrast Barium Enema. Several images are taken and this x-ray exam usually requires 1 hour to complete. The radiologist will study your examination and a report will be forwarded to your physician, from whom you may obtain the results. If you have any questions regarding your examination or preparation or if you cannot keep your appointment, please notify the department as soon as possible.

Please arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for parking and registration. Please plan to spend approximately 1-2 hours in our department. If you bring friends or family to the appointment they will be asked to wait in a waiting room during your scan. Children cannot be left unattended during your scan. Please arrange for a caregiver.


Our radiologist will study your examination and a report will be forwarded to your practitioner, from whom you may obtain the results. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact our department at at 608-342-4740.

Date of appointment _______________________________________ Time_____________________

Your procedure will be performed at Southwest Health at 1400 Eastside Road – Platteville, WI 53818. Please use the Main Hospital Entrance and check in at the Registration Desk prior to your scheduled procedure.

If you cannot keep your appointment please contact the radiology department at 608-342-4740 so that me may accommodate another patient.

NOTE: It may take 2-3 days to obtain verification from your insurance company for exams that require prior authorization, such as CT, MRI, Nuclear Stress, Injections, etc.