Small Bowel Follow-through

Small Bowel Follow-through

What should I know about Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray imaging.  It allows physicians to view real-time (movie-like) images of your internal structures.   Because fluoroscopy involves the use of x-rays, ionizing radiation, all fluoroscopic procedures pose some health risks.  If you are pregnant, you should discuss these risks with your physician before having this procedure.

What should I know about Fluoroscopic X-ray Dye?

Fluoroscopy procedures require various types of x-ray dyes depending on the reason for the procedure and what information the physician wants to obtain from the procedure.  The most commonly used x-ray dye is barium sulfate, a white-chalky substance.  Other x-ray dyes used in our fluoroscopy department are water-soluble agents, omnipaque (iohexol) and hypaque (diatrizoic acid).  The technologist will ask you a series of questions before giving you the x-ray dye to reduce the chance of a contrast reaction.  Having a known allergy to x-ray dye will not necessarily prevent you from having the procedure but may require pre-medication so please inform the technologist.

What is a Fluoroscopic Small Bowel Follow Through?

A fluoroscopic small bowel follow through is a procedure done by one of our Radiology Physicians and Technologists in the x-ray department to evaluate your small intestine.  You will be asked to drink x-ray dye.  X-ray images will be taken of your abdomen until the x-ray dye travels all the way through your small intestine.  X-ray images will be taken every 15 minutes for the first hour and every 30 minutes thereafter.  You may be asked to drink additional x-ray dye and to sit-up or walk between images.  Once the x-ray dye reaches your large intestine additional x-ray images will be taken.  You will be asked to move into different positions to take these x-ray images.  If the part of the bowel that connects the small intestine to the large intestine is not well visualized, a small tube will be inserted 1-2 inches into your rectum and your colon will be filled with air.  This can make you feel full or bloated and cramping may occur, this feeling should pass once the x-ray dye/air is removed.  You can expect this procedure to take 2-4 hours.

What should I do before the procedure?

This procedure requires a diet restriction.  Do not eat, drink, chew or smoke anything after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure.  If this diet restriction is not followed the procedure may have to be rescheduled.

Additionally, we ask that you arrive 15-20 minutes before your scheduled procedure time to check-in and be registered.  You should come to Radiology Reception on the first floor of the main hospital located at 1215 Lee Street.  You can park in the parking deck directly across from the Main Lobby Entrance and we will validate your ticket or you can take advantage of our valet parking services.

What should I do after the procedure?

You can return to your normal activity after this procedure unless instructed otherwise by our Radiologist.  It is a good idea to increase your fluid intake by drinking water after any barium procedure.


For any questions or concerns:

Contact the Radiology and Medical Imaging department at 434-924-9400.