An upper G.I./small bowel series is an x-ray examination of the upper digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and small intestine, providing a detailed view of the upper digestive tract.
You will be asked not to eat after midnight the evening before the exam.
Generally, the exam may not be advisable for pregnant women, or anyone who cannot remain completely still in certain positions for extended periods of time. Inform your physician if either of these conditions applies to you.
In preparation for the procedure, you will be asked to remove your clothes and put on a hospital gown. You will be given a liquid barium mixture to drink and may be asked at certain intervals to swallow a substance (referred to as “fizzies”) that produces a gas in your stomach.
You then will lie on an examination table, which will be tilted, and a fluoroscope will be positioned above you, so that the body’s organs can be viewed on a screen and recorded digitally. You will be asked to turn from side to side, and to hold different positions.
You may be asked to drink additional amounts of the barium mixture during the procedure, and periodically, you will be asked to hold your breath and stay perfectly still. At these times, the x-rays are being taken. The sliding and snapping sounds you will hear is the film cassette moving into place.
The upper G.I. exam usually takes less than one hour. The small bowel series takes between 30 minutes and four hours. You will need to wait until the radiologist has examined the images to ensure that they are acceptable.
To help you eliminate any remaining barium, a laxative may be recommended. After the examination is interpreted by the radiologist, a written report will be sent to your physician.