- Barium enema
- : A series of x-rays of the lower intestine (colon) and rectum that are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution that contains barium. The barium outlines the intestines on the x-rays. These x-rays permit the detection of colon and rectal abnormalities including diverticulosis, diverticulitis, abnormal colon movement, dilation (widening) of the colon, polyps and cancers of the colon and rectum. Air can be instilled into the colon along with the barium contrast medium to further define structures of the large bowel and rectum. Polyps and small cancers are more readily found using this method which is called an air contrast barium enema or a double-contrast barium enema. This is the only kind of barium enema that is appropriate for detecting colorectal polyps and potentially curable colorectal cancers. The barium enema was for years the only way to do a complete examination of the colon shy of surgery, but with the advent of fiberoptic technology and the widespread use of colonoscopy, the role of the barium enema has declined. Although the barium enema is clearly better than colonoscopy in regard to safety and cost, colonoscopy in recent year has been replacing barium enemas.
* * *barium enema n a suspension of barium sulfate injected into the lower bowel to render it radiopaque, usu. followed by injection of air to inflate the bowel and increase definition, and used in the radiographic diagnosis of intestinal lesions
* * *a technique for examination of the large bowel. A tube is inserted into the rectum through the anus, and barium sulphate is run into the bowel to the caecum. For double contrast, gas is then pumped through the tube to distend the colon. A series of radiographs is then taken, usually on a tilting table with the patient lying and standing. Barium enema is used mainly to identify cancers, polyps, and diverticular disease and to see the extent of mucosal damage in inflammatory bowel disease. Its role has been partially taken over by endoscopy.
* * *a suspension of barium injected into the intestine as a contrast medium for radiological examination. Called also contrast e.
Medical dictionary. 2011.