What is a Barium Enema?

Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN
Last Modified: June 16, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What is a Barium Enema?  


Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN, AOCN OncoLink's Clinical Trials Coordinator, responds:

A barium enema uses barium sulfate, a radiopaque contrast that allows the bowel to be viewed with an x-ray. The test requires a bowel preparation the day before the procedure, which may include a laxative, enema, and clear liquid diet, to rid the colon of any stool. The barium is infused through a tube in the rectum, into the colon. The patient is placed on a table that moves in various directions to fully visualize the colon while the x-rays are taken. This test can be used to diagnose tumors, bowel obstruction, and other abnormalities including ulcerative colitis.


Eight Tips for Addressing Medical Billing Issues
by Christina Bach, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
May 25, 2016