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  • A small bowel Barium enema SBBE is an x-ray examination of the small bowel. A liquid dye called Barium is administered via a naso-gastric tube.

  • A medication prescription, to prepare your bowel, shall accompany the appointment letter when sent in the post. This should be filled out and followed the day before arrival in the x-ray department. At 4pm, the day before the examination, dissolve the contents of the medication sachet, called PICOLAX, into a cup of water. Stir well and drink the mixture. No further solid food should be taken until the examination is complete. However, unlimited fluids can be taken until midnight, e.g., tea, coffee, water, juice and clear soup.

  • Yes, however, diabetics who are fasting are advised to alter their insulin intake appropriately.

  • A radiographer and radiologist will be present in the procedure room. You will be requested to lie flat on the table and the nose will be numbed by anaesthetic cream. The radiologist will insert a small flexible tube down the nose, through the stomach and into the small bowel. Next a bag of Barium, white liquid dye, will be connected onto the flexible tube and Barium will slowly be released into the small bowel through the tube. The Barium will outline the small bowel and can be visualised by the radiologist there and then in the room. The radiologist may request that you move onto either side to aid in the transit of Barium through the bowel. At the end of the examination the radiologist will slowly remove the tube from the patient.

  • The insertion of the tube will be mildly to moderately uncomfortable

  • The examination typically takes 45 minutes to complete. However, this depends on how quickly the dye passes through the bowel and later x-rays may be required.

  • You may eat as soon as the examination is over. You should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and drink extra fluids, to remove any left over barium from the bowel.

  • The results will be sent to your doctor who will discuss the results with you.