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Gastrointestinal (GI) Procedure

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Common GI (Gastrointestinal) Imaging Studies

  • Barium Enema (Lower GI Series): This diagnoses disorders of the large intestine, colon, and rectum. It involves filling the large intestine with barium liquid while X-ray images are taken. The barium will be given to you through a tube.
  • Enteroclysis (Small Bowel Study): This procedure evaluates disorders of the small intestine (also known as small bowel). It involves filling the small intestine with barium liquid while X-ray images are taken. The barium will be given to you through a nasal tube. 
  • Esophogram (Barium Swallow): This identifies any abnormalities in the esophagus or stomach such as tumors, ulcers, hernias, pockets, narrowing, and swallowing difficulties. It uses barium to coat the walls of the upper digestive tract so it can be examined under X-ray. A barium "milkshake" will be provided to drink before the procedure.
  • Upper GI Series: This uses X-rays to evaluate the upper GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (a part of the small intestine). A barium "milkshake" will be provided to drink before the procedure. You will be asked to move from one position to another throughout the procedure.
  • Small Bowel Follow Through: This exam diagnoses disorders of the small intestine. A barium "milkshake" will be provided to drink before the procedure. Images are taken until the barium reaches the end of the small intestine. This exam can take up to four hours.

For general questions or to reschedule an exam.

Call (585) 784-2985

UR Medicine's Approach

Appointment Information

GI procedures are performed on patients 19 years of age or older.

You might receive a call from us to review your medical history to determine that no issues exist preventing you from having a GI procedure. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please provide 24 hours notice.

We ask that you call at least three days ahead if either of the following pertain to you so we may make the appropriate modifications to your treatment plan:

  • If you believe you might be pregnant
  • If you have had a contrast allergy/reaction (i.e., hives, rash, itching, breathing difficulty) while undergoing a previous imaging study

Preparation Instructions

Barium Enema and Enteroclysis Patients

The purpose of the preparation is to cleanse the bowel. The day before your appointment, follow these dietary instructions:  

  • Breakfast—eat a normal diet
  • Lunch—drink clear liquids only (black tea, black coffee, jello, clear broth, carbonated drinks, apple, grape, or cranberry juices)
  • Between 3 and 4 p.m., drink 10 ounces of magnesium citrate
  • Dinner—drink only clear liquids
  • Between 9 and 10 p.m. (or six hours after drinking magnesium citrate), drink 10 ounces of clear liquid
  • You may continue to drink clear liquids as desired, up until four hours before your procedure time
  • Do not eat or drink four hours prior to your appointment
  • Medications may be taken two to four hours prior to your appointment

Preparation for Esophagrams

There are no preparatory instructions required for patients undergoing esophagrams.

Preparation for Upper GI Series and Small Bowel Follow-Throughs

Do not eat or drink after midnight the evening prior to your procedure. Also, please do not smoke or chew gum after midnight. This is necessary for an empty and relaxed stomach.

Diabetics: If you are diabetic, please check with your primary care physician for specific medication and other preparatory instructions. 

What to Expect

Day of Your Procedure

  • Please arrive on time
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Bring your insurance card and photo ID.
  • All parents/guardians having an imaging study must be aware that there is no supervision available for children. Please do not have children accompany you to your appointment.

After Your Procedure

  • You will be provided with post-procedure instructions.
  • Your procedure results will be sent to your referring physician within two business days. Please contact your physician.
  • If you have a MyChart account, your results will be posted in 14 days.

Suggestion: When the examination is over, drink plenty of fluids. If you are constipated, a mild laxative will help you get rid of the barium. If you have any concerns, consult your referring physician.

What Sets Us Apart?

UR Medicine's Department of Imaging is at the forefront of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging technologies. Radiology is a medical specialty that has become much more than just X-rays, and the name of our department reflects this evolution. Our faculty are nationally recognized authorities in their respective fields.

We bring together education, research, and clinical expertise within a leading academic health sciences environment. UR Medicine's Department of Imaging is able to provide a variety of radiologic services to meet our patients' needs.


We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

View All Locations

6 locations

Imaging - Thompson Health - Canandaigua

FF Thompson Hospital
350 Parrish Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Imaging - Golisano Children's Hospital - Rochester

Golisano Children's Hospital
150 Crittenden Boulevard
Rochester, NY 14642

Imaging - Highland Hospital - Rochester

Highland Hospital
1000 South Avenue
Rochester, NY 14620

Imaging - Noyes Health - Dansville

Noyes Memorial Hospital
111 Clara Barton Street
Dansville, NY 14437

Imaging - St. James Hospital - Hornell

St. James Hospital
7329 Seneca Road North
Hornell, NY 14843

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