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Small Bowel Follow-Through

Small Bowel Follow-Through
12/12/2016 03:39 PM EST

Source: Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology
Related MedlinePlus Page: Small Intestine Disorders

Small Bowel Follow-Through

Small bowel follow-through uses a form of real-time x-ray called fluoroscopy and a barium-based contrast material to produce images of the small intestine. It is safe, noninvasive and may be used to help accurately diagnose bowel disease, obstructions, polyps, cancer and other symptoms.
You will be instructed on how to prepare. You may be asked to use a laxative and told not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the examination. Tell your doctor if there’s a possibility you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking and allergies, especially to contrast materials. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.

What is small bowel follow-through?

Small bowel follow-through is a fluoroscopic procedure used to evaluate the small intestine, also known as the small bowel. Prior to the procedure, the patient drinks a liquid that contains barium or an iodine-based contrast, a contrast material that enhances x-ray images. (See the Contrast Materials Safety page for more information.) As the contrast moves from the stomach into the small intestine, the radiologist will use an x-ray machine to look for any abnormalities. Although the procedure can be performed by itself, it is often done after an Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) fluoroscopic study of the esophagus, stomach and the section of the duodenum just beyond the stomach. During the study, you may be asked to rotate your position on the x-ray table in order to coat all the surfaces of your bowel with the contrast.

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