A proctogram is an x-ray examination used to document rectal function. A paste with dye called Barium is given rectally.
The rectum should be empty prior to the examination.
The radiographer will hand you a container (200 mls) of dilute Barium, white liquid dye, that you are requested to drink at your own pace. This will aid in visualisation of the small intestine during the procedure. For the female patient just prior to entry into the procedure room, the radiographer will ask you to dip a tampon into diluted Barium, white liquid dye, and insert this into the vaginal passage. The radiographer will bring you into the procedure room through an adjacent door. Only the radiologist and radiographer will be present in the room. You will be requested to lie on their left side on the x-ray table. The radiologist will do an internal examination of the rectal passage and slowly insert a small flexible tube. Through this tube the back passage, rectum, will be filled with a solid version of Barium. When you feel the urge to go to the toilet the soft tube will be removed from the rectum. The radiologist will clean the area around the back passage and place two spot markers on either side of the rectum. Next you will be guided off the x-ray table and aided to sit upright onto a special chair (similar to a commode). You will be asked by the radiologist to squeeze and strain certain muscles prior to defecating the rectal paste. All of this is visualised at the time by the radiologist. Once the examination is complete you will be guided to a toilet within the procedure room before back to their changing cubicle.
It will be mildly to moderately uncomfortable and there may be some cramping. The procedure is more embarrassing than painful.
The examination typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
The results will be sent to your doctor who will discuss the results with you. However, feel free to ask the radiologist any questions.