Enteroclysis is an x-ray examination of the small intestine that looks at how a liquid called contrast material moves through the small intestine.
This test is done in a hospital radiology department.
The x-ray images appear in real time on a monitor that is similar to a television screen. This means they are seen as the contrast is actually moving through the bowel.
Sometimes a CT scan is also used.
The goal of the study is to view all of the loops of small bowel. You may be asked to change positions during the exam. The test usually lasts several hours, because it may take a while for the contrast to move through the whole small bowel.
You should drink clear liquids for at least 24 hours before the test. Laxatives may be prescribed to make sure the bowel is clear of any particles that might interfere with the study.
You may need to stop taking medications, including narcotic pain relievers, on or before the day of the exam. Do not change or stop taking any medications without first talking to your health care provider.
If you are anxious about the procedure you may be given a sedative before it starts. You will be asked to remove all jewelry and wear a hospital gown. It is best to leave jewelry and other valuables at home. You will be asked to remove any removable dental work, such as appliances, bridges, or retainers.
The placement of the tube may be uncomfortable. The contrast material may cause a feeling of abdominal fullness.
This test is performed to examine the small bowel. It is the most complete way of telling if the small intestine is normal.
There are no problems seen with the size or shape of the small intestine. Contrast travels through the bowel at a normal rate without any sign of blockage.
Many problems of the small intestine can be found with enteroclysis. Some of these include:
The radiation exposure may be greater with this test than with other types of x-rays because of the length of time. But most experts feel that the risk is low compared to the benefits.
Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-ray radiation. If there is a chance that you are pregnant, you must tell your health care provider.
Rare complications include:
Barium may cause constipation. Tell your health care provider if the barium has not passed through your system by 2 or 3 days after the test, or if you feel constipated.
Small bowel enema; CT enteroclysis; Small bowel follow-through; Barium enteroclysis
Gourtsoyiannis N, Prassopoulos P, Daskalogiannaki M, et al. The duodenum and small intestine. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 28.
Maglinte DDT. Fluoroscopic and CT enteroclysis: evidence-based clinical update. Radiol Clin N Am. 2013;51:149-176.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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