Barium Enema

Your doctor has requested a procedure called a barium enema. This exam is performed to assess a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain or rectal bleeding, or if your doctor suspects that you may have diverticulitis (small inflamed areas in your colon) or polyps (growth of tissue on your colon). At the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center we have a team of imaging physicians, nurses and technologists led by Richard Sukov, MD, FACR, Chief, Gastrointestinal Radiology, who specialize in gastrointestinal procedures, and who will be performing your exam and interpreting the results.

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for Gastrointestinal Studies?

Before Your Procedure

Day Before Procedure: ADULTS 

Breakfast:
Clear soup (any broth); strained fruit juices without pulp; flavored jello of any color (do not add extra ingredients); soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea.
Noon:
Clear soup (any broth); strained fruit juices without pulp; flavored jello of any color (do not add extra ingredients); soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea.
1:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fluid ounce glass of water
2:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
3:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
4:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
Dinner:
5:00 pm
Clear soup (any broth); strained fruit juices without pulp; flavored jello of any color (do not add extra ingredients); soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea.
5:30 pm
10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate Oral Solution
6:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
7:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
7:30 pm
Take two (2) 5 mg Dulcolax (Bisacodyl tablets) with an 8 fluid ounce glass of water. DO NOT CHEW TABLETS
8:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water
9:00 pm
Drink one (1) full 8 fl. oz glass of water. Do not eat after 9:00pm.

*Day of Procedure - Clear liquids only on the day of your exam. Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before your exam.

Day Before Procedure: CHILDREN

  • Newborn to 4 years old - No preparation
  • 4 years - 16 years: Clear liquid dinner the day before the procedure. Clear liquids only on the day of exam.
*If a referring physician requests a prep, contact radiology at 310-423-2723 and ask to speak to a GI radiologist.


During Your Procedure

The technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have before your exam.

You will be asked to change into a gown and to lie on the exam table on your back with your arms at your side.

The technologist will take a "scout" film to make sure that your intestines are clean. Once the scout film has been reviewed by the imaging physician, the technologist will insert a lubricated enema tip into your rectum.

The imaging physician will start the exam by allowing liquid barium to flow through the enema tip, a little at a time. This material allows the visualization of your colon.

The imaging physician will watch the flow of the barium on a television screen and will take multiple pictures throughout the process.

As the barium is delivered, you will be asked to turn from side to side. This will help to coat the walls of your colon. After the barium is in, the technologist will take a series of X-rays of your colon.

You will be asked to hold your breath and remain very still for each picture.

It is also important that you try to hold in the barium.

An imaging physician will review the images to make sure that they are sufficient to make a diagnosis. If they are not, more pictures may be taken.

Once the films are complete, the technologist will take you to the bathroom so that you can expel the barium.

Final pictures will be taken to assess if your colon is empty.

Your exam will take approximately 45 minutes. This may be longer if additional pictures are required.

After Your Procedure

Drink plenty of liquid for 24 to 48 hours.

The barium may make your stool white for several days.

If you experience constipation, your physician may recommend a mild laxative.

Your study will be read by the imaging physician and results sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours.

Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

To request copies of your pictures on a PC-compatible CD, or of your report, please call (310) 423-8000. 

Directions and Parking Information


For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (310) 423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.  

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