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Small Bowel

Small Bowel

Your Small Bowel Exam at St. Mary's - What You Can Expect

Patient Prep 


Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew anything after midnight the night before your exam. If your exam is scheduled for the afternoon, you may have a small glass of water in the morning, but remember, no breakfast. If you have diabetes, please take ½ of your usual Lente, NPH or Novalin 70/30 insulin dose on the day of the exam. Do not take any regular insulin on the morning of the test.

Test Procedure 

Sometimes called a dedicated small bowel follow through, this examination takes a look at the entire small intestine using x-rays. You will be required to drink three cups of a thin liquid called barium which coats the inside of your intestines and enables our physician, the radiologist, to examine the small bowel. After drinking the barium, x-ray pictures will be taken of your abdomen at timed intervals. The length of time it takes to complete your exam depends on the time it takes for the barium to pass through your small intestine. It may take as little as one hour but may well last more than 4 to 5 hours. This varies among people.

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