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Barium Enema / Air Contrast Barium Enema
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Preparation for Scan

Welcome and thank you for choosing Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for your x-ray procedure. Our physicians and technologists are dedicated to providing highly skilled and compassionate care for you and your family. We understand that you may be apprehensive about your test. We hope the following information will be helpful to you as you prepare for your diagnostic test.

There are several locations where you can have your x-ray procedure. At the MMC Main Campus it is located on the 3rd floor of the main building. At the Lee Campus the X-ray department is on the 1st floor.

We want to make the experience as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call your physician or the Radiology Department at (814) 534-9166 between 7:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

Before the Scan

Your physician’s office will schedule the date and time of your appointment with Central Scheduling. They will instruct you on any special preparations or medications you need, where to get them and what time to arrive at the hospital. If you can’t remember the preparation involved or when you are scheduled please call your physician or the Radiology Department at (814) 534-9166 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage or pre-certification, call your insurance company. If you are not covered by insurance, please make arrangements for payment by calling the business office at (814) 410-8470.

You will be exposed to small amounts of short-lived radiation. If you are pregnant or think you might be, or if you are breast-feeding, tell the doctor and technologist before your test.

If you develop a cough, cold, abnormal temperature, sore throat or flu-like symptoms; or if you come in contact with anyone suffering from measles, chickenpox or any other communicable disease, within 2 weeks prior to your scan, please call your physician. It may be necessary to reschedule your scan for a time when you are feeling better.

Follow the special preparation specifically ordered by your physician. There are several alternatives. You may be instructed to use one of the following preparations. If you develop any problems such as nausea or vomiting please contact the physician that ordered the prep.

Two day prep
Two days prior to your exam:

  • Start a clear liquid diet at noon. Clear liquids include clear broth, water, plain gelatin, fruit juices without pulp like apple juice, and tea or coffee without cream. Please avoid anything with a red coloring.
  • Continue on it until the exam is done.
  • Drink 1 - 10 ounce bottle of citrate of magnesia after your lunch.
  • Drink seven - 8 ounce glasses of water from noon to bed time. Drink a glass of water every 1 to 2 hours.

The day prior to your exam:

  • Stay on the clear liquid diet.
  • At 7:00 PM drink 1 - 10 ounce bottle of citrate of magnesia.
  • At 9:00 PM take 4 Dulcolax tablets with a glass of water.

The day of the exam:

  • At 7:00 AM, drink 1 ½ glasses of water.
  • Put in the Dulcolax rectal suppository.
  • Let the suppository work for 15 minutes before going to the bathroom.
  • Do not smoke, eat, or drink anything until after you test is finished.

One day prep

  • Start a clear liquid diet at noon. Clear liquids include clear broth, water, plain gelatin, fruit juices without pulp like apple juice, and tea or coffee without cream. Please avoid anything with a red coloring.
  • Continue on it until the exam is done.
  • Take any medications such as Dulcolax ordered with the bowel prep kit at the specified time.
  • Start drinking the Golytely or Half-lytely liquid at the specified time. Drink one full glass every 15 minutes until it is gone. Try to drink each glass as quickly as possible instead of sipping.

The Day of your Scan

Wear loose fitting, clean, comfortable clothing and flat shoes.

Children under 18 years of age or incapacitated adults must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. You may be accompanied by one adult family member or friend. Children should not accompany adults having any procedures.

Continue your special preparation on the morning of test. Do not smoke, eat, or drink anything until after your test is finished.

If you have a colostomy, bring a new bag and wafer to use after the test.

Please bring any order that your physicians office provided for you. If you were not contacted by pre-certification please bring your identification and insurance cards.

Please bring a list of your medicines, over-the- counter drugs, and herbal drugs. Also bring a list of allergies to food, latex, or medicine.

Parking is available in the parking lots outside of the buildings. At the Main Campus you can park in the garage on Franklin Street or use the valet at the Main Entrance on Franklin Street. Please bring your parking ticket with you to receive a token for free parking in the garage. At the Lee Campus you can park in the garage on Walnut Street. Please remember to bring your ticket with you to receive a rebate ticket for free parking in the garage. You will need to take both tickets back to the garage on the first floor. First you will need to put your parking ticket in the machine and then the rebate ticket. You will be given another ticket to exit the garage. 

When you arrive at the hospital on the day of your procedure, check in at the Outpatient Registration desk. At the Main Campus it is to the left in the main lobby on the first floor. If you are going to the Lee Campus the Outpatient Registration Desk is in the main lobby. You will be registered and then escorted to the Radiology department waiting area. Once there you will sign in at the reception desk. If you were pre-registered you can go directly to the Radiology department.

Healthcare professionals will be available in this area to make you comfortable and to answer your questions. Your safety is our number one priority.

The staff may ask you the same questions several times; they will ask your name, birth date, what procedure you are having done, your medications and your allergies. By repeating our questions, we are verifying and re-verifying very important information to ensure that your time with us is as safe as possible.

Preparing for the Scan

The people around you in the room will be preparing for your procedure. The technologist will explain everything that is happening. Please tell them of any allergies you may have or if you are pregnant or think you might be. You will be asked to change into a gown and helped on to an examination table.

A Radiologist (x-ray doctor) will check the first picture to make sure the preparation worked and your bowel is clear. An enema tip will be inserted into your rectum. The doctor will slowly fill your bowel with a liquid called barium and air. This is a contrast material that will help your body organs show up better on the x-rays.

A special machine called fluoroscopy is used. A continuous or pulsed x-ray beam is controlled by a switch. When this beam strikes the photographic plate it creates a sequence of images that are projected onto a television-like monitor. This enables the Radiologist to see the area in motion. The exposure to x-rays may be a little higher than a normal x-ray. The Radiologists and technologists are trained to deliver dosages that are not harmful and that are within strictly established guidelines.

The Radiologist will take the initial pictures as your bowel is filling. The technologists will take more pictures that will be monitored by the doctor. You may have to change positions or hold your breath while the pictures are taken. A technologist may apply a compression device. Compression helps separate parts of your bowel that normally overlap. This helps the Radiologist get a better view of your large intestine. After the pictures are checked you will be able to go to the bathroom. The technologist will take one film after you go to the bathroom. The entire test will take approximately 45 to 90 minutes.

After the Scan

When your scan is over, the technologist will help you off the table. You can go home immediately after your test is completed. If you had a change in diet before the scan, you may resume your normal diet. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids for several days unless otherwise contraindicated. Your stool may be white with barium for several days. If you become constipated make sure you speak to the physician that ordered the test.

A Radiologist will study your scans and report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will generally discuss the results with you at your next physician’s office visit. Talk with your doctor or testing center about how to get your test results.

If your testing was ordered STAT by your physician, a preliminary report will be phoned or faxed to them shortly after the completion of your test.

Thank-you for allowing us to take care of you during your radiology exam.