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Barium enema - Definition


A barium enema is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the large intestine or colon. It is used to identify anomalies in the terminal part of the digestive tract. A contrast agent, barium, is injected through the natural channels of the patient and makes the colon opaque, and is then X-rayed. X-rays allow a study of the large intestine and a search for inflammation, infection, the presence of polyps or tumors. Barium is also used to opacify other organs, including the ones in the digestive tract: this is the case in a barium meal or upper gastrointestinal series, where barium is ingested by the patient and allows the study of the upper gastrointestinal tract.