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  • Special X-Ray Studies

  • Certain types of X-ray studies are done using fluoroscopy or X-ray movies. The most common ones are described below.

    Barium Swallow and Upper GI

    This is a test that looks at how the child swallows or whether there is anything in the esophagus (the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach) or the stomach. The child is given barium in a cup or baby bottle.

    • Can the child eat before this test?
      No. The child must have an empty stomach. For a small baby this is 4 hours, but for anyone older it means not having anything to eat on the day of the test.
    • Can the child eat after the test?
      Certainly!

    Upper G-I and Small Bowel

    This is the same as an upper G-I except that the child needs to drink more barium so that it can be followed by x-ray until it passes through the entire small intestine and reaches the large intestine. This frequently requires a long time to pass the entire way, so the parent should be prepared to be in the department for several hours.

    • Can the child eat before this test?
      No. The child must have an empty stomach. For a small baby this is 4 hours, but for anyone older it means not having anything to eat on the day of the test.
    • Can the child eat after the test?
      Certainly!

    Barium enema

    This is a test with barium that looks at the colon or large intestine. A soft plastic tube is placed into the rectum and the barium is dripped in while the pictures are being taken. This makes the child feel like he needs to go to the bathroom. After the pictures are taken, the child is allowed to go to the bathroom.

    • Is there special preparation for this test?
      Depending on the age of the child and the reason for the test, there may be preparation. For infants there usually is no preparation. For older children, there usually is preparation which includes laxatives or enemas. At the time the exam is scheduled, you will be told whether the child needs a prep.

    Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

    This is a test to look at the urinary bladder and to see whether urine goes from the bladder back up to the kidneys (this is known as reflux). To do this the region of the child's urethra (where the urine comes out) is washed with a gentle soap on cotton balls. A catheter (or tube) about the size of a piece of spaghetti is placed through the urethra and into the bladder and a special solution is dripped in that can be seen on x-ray. When the bladder is full, the child urinates into a pan.

    • Is there any special preparation for this test?
      No.

    Preparing for special X-rays >