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This page is for information purposes only. For advice and specific questions please contact your primary care or referring physician.
A barium swallow or esophogram is an X-ray study of the throat and esophagus to detect abnormalities in this region. During the examination you will be asked to drink a liquid barium that coats the lining of the throat and esophagus.
Please do not eat or drink after midnight the day before this examination. View the full prep sheet.
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
- You will be asked to stand on an X-ray table platform and the radiologist will have you drink approximately 8-12 ounces of barium, which allows us to visualize your throat and esophagus.
- You will also be asked to swallow some crystals mixed with water which "fizz" causing air bubbles to be released in your stomach. This might make you feel like burping, but try not to.
- As you drink the barium and "fizz" the radiologist will take a series of films. He/she will then move the table back and take another series of films.
- The table will again be stood in the upright position and you will asked to swallow a barium tablet which the radiologist will observe on the X-ray fluoroscopy and take one more series of films.
- You should drink extra fluids for the next one to two days to help the barium pass through your colon. You may eat immediately after this procedure. The radiologist will send a report of his/her findings to your physician.
- A mild laxative may be taken for constipation.
If you are of child bearing age and think there is any possibility of pregnancy it is important that you inform the physician ordering these x-rays and tell the technologist taking your x-rays. If you have any known allergies to contrast, iodine, or foods please inform your physician BEFORE proceeding with any of the instructions that follow.