ACBE (Air Contrast Barium Enema)

How do I prepare?

24 hour Fleets Enema Prep Kit

What will the exam be like?

You will be instructed to change into a gown. This is to remove all metal from the area of interest. This also will protect your clothes from getting stained. The technologist will greet you and ask a few questions about your identity and the reason you are being tested. The technologist will then ask you to lie on a special tilting table which is capable of fluoroscopy. (Moving x-rays with a TV monitor). As you lie on your left side, a lubricated enema tip will be inserted into your rectum and liquid barium will be released. As the barium flows through your colon, you may feel like you need to move your bowel. This is a normal sensation. The radiologist will introduce small amounts of air through the enema tip. This will also make you feel as if you need to expel gas, which is also normal. You will be asked to turn from side to side and hold different positions as the radiologist takes "spot images" to study later. You may even be tilted into a semi-standing position for a few images. Once the physician is finished, the technologist will take 7-9 additional images. Now the technologist will let the barium drain back into the enema bag. Once the bag is full, the enema tip is removed and you will be helped into the bathroom to expel the rest of the barium. One last image is then taken before you leave. This test takes about 30-45 minutes. Once your exams are read by our radiologists, it usually takes two to three business days for your doctor to get a copy of your report

What do I do after the exam?

Barium may cause constipation. Unless you are on a fluid restricted diet, drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day for the next two days. Some patients may need a mild laxative. If you have any concerns about this, please contact your doctor. Any questions regarding the exam, please call Radiology at 356-8117.