Fluoroscopy (including Barium Swallow and Enemas)

Our Fluoroscopy department provides many different examinations. You will find some information about our most common exams on this page. Please remember to follow all of the instructions on your letter and information sheets and to contact us as soon as you can if you have any queries or concerns or if you cannot attend your appointment as we may be able to offer it to someone else.

Fluoroscopy of swallow, oesophagus, stomach (formerly Videofluoroscopy, Barium Swallow, Barium Meal) 

This is an examination of your throat while swallowing, oesophagus (gullet), stomach or upper small bowel. The part examined will deopend on the clinical question

You will be asked to drink a small cup of either fruit flavoured chalky liquid called barium (which shows up on X-rays) or a clear liquid  called water soluble contrast.

To look at your throat swallowing you may be required to swallow small amounts of different textured or thickened liquid

You may be required to take a fizzy drink that will make gas in your stomach. You may feel bloated. It is very important that you try to keep the gas down and not belch during the test to ensure a good examination.

You will be asked to turn into different positions on the X-ray table. The test takes about 10 minutes.

Preparation before your examination

In order to achieve a successful examination, your stomach must be completely empty.  You must stop eating and drinking 6 hours before your exam. You will be required to undress and remove any necklaces and earrings and to put on a hospital gown.

Medicines Information

If you wish to discuss how to manage your medication before or after your appointment please contact Medicines Information on 01752 439976.

Are there any risks?  

As with any examination there are some small risks involved. Despite these small risks, your doctor has recommended that you have the examination.  Please do remember that the risks by not having the examination will be much greater. Please see patient information leaflets for more details on individual exams.

Where to find us

Your examination will be carried out in X-Ray West, on Level 6, at Derriford Hospital.

To find the X-Ray West Reception area use the main hospital entrance on Level 6 and turn right at the League of Friends shop, you will find the reception area at the end of the corridor.  There are signposts to guide you to X-Ray West.

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