X-rays create images of the inside of the body. These exams allow proper diagnoses to be made and the best treatment plans to be made.
There are different things you need to do depending on the type of x-ray you are having done. These are the most common exams you will have and what you should do:
- Upper GI (Barium swallow, small bowel follow through) - You should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. This includes no smoking, pills, or gum chewing the morning of the exam. If you are having a small bowel follow through, you may be in the department for up to four hours.
- Modified Barium Swallow – no preparation is required (this can be booked with the speech language pathology department).
- Cystogram - No preparation is required.
- Bone Mineral Densitometry - Please discontinue taking calcium supplements, antacids (Rolaids or Tums) or multi-vitamins for 24 hours prior to your appointment time. If a supplement has been taken your test will be rescheduled. Be prepared to be changed into a hospital gown for an optimal exam.
You asked – we answered
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive from patients, families and caregivers in our community about X-rays.
What is a Barium Study?
The digestive system, (gastrointestinal tract), like other soft-tissue structures, does not show clearly enough for diagnostic purposes on plain x-rays, but barium drinks do. If barium is swallowed while radiographs are taken, the barium within the esophagus, stomach or duodenum shows the shape of these organs.
Barium compounds are non-toxic, but they have a chalky taste and can cause constipation. It is recommended that you drink lots of fluids for 24 hours after your test.
What is a Modified Barium Swallow?
This test assesses the function of the muscles of the throat. The Speech Language Pathologist will give you different textures of liquids and solids to swallow. These are mixed or coated in barium so that they are visible on x-ray and images are taken while you are swallowing.
What is a Cystogram?
A cystogram is a radiographic examination of the bladder. A small catheter is placed into the urethra by a nurse. The catheter is used to deliver a clear liquid contrast that is visible on x-rays into the bladder, causing it to expand as if it were full of urine. The radiologist will take x-rays of the bladder while it is full of contrast. The catheter may then be removed and possibly more images taken.
What is Bone Mineral Densitometry?
A Bone Mineral Density test screens for and monitors osteoporosis. This is a disease where your bones are weaker than they should be and could break easily. X-rays are taken of the spine and the hip and then analyzed by a radiologist to assess your risk.