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Definition of «Barium enema»

Barium enemaBarium enemaBarium enemaBarium enema

Barium enema: A series of x-rays of the lower intestine (colon) and rectum that are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution that contains barium. The barium outlines the intestines on the x-rays. These x-rays permit the detection of colon and rectal abnormalities including diverticulosis, diverticulitis, abnormal colon movement, dilation (widening) of the colon, polyps and cancers of the colon and rectum.

Air can be instilled into the colon along with the barium contrast medium to further define structures of the large bowel and rectum. Polyps and small cancers are more readily found using this method which is called an air contrast barium enema or a double-contrast barium enema. This is the only kind of barium enema that is appropriate for detecting colorectal polyps and potentially curable colorectal cancers.

The barium enema was for years the only way to do a complete examination of the colon shy of surgery, but with the advent of fiberoptic technology and the widespread use of colonoscopy, the role of the barium enema has declined. Although the barium enema is clearly better than colonoscopy in regard to safety and cost, colonoscopy in recent year has been replacing barium enemas.

Also called a lower GI series.

See also: Double contrast barium enema.

For More Information «Barium enema»

  • Barium enema: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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  • barium enema: Definition from Answers.com

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    A barium enema is a diagnostic test. During the test, the doctor puts a contrast material called barium into the rectum. Enough barium is given to fill up the colon ...

  • Barium Enema (Lower GI Series) Procedure Information on ...

    Read about the barium enema procedure used as a diagnostic tool to diagnose conditions such as diverticulitis, colon polyps, colonic abscesses, cancer, and Hirschsprung ...

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