GI Series X-Ray

A GI or gastrointestinal series is an X-ray exam of the esophagus, stomach, and sometimes the small intestine that requires you to drink a liquid called barium.

Preparation for Your Exam

It is important that you do not eat or drink anything from midnight the night before your exam. Also, do not eat or drink the morning of your exam. If your stomach is not empty the study will not be satisfactory or may have to be postponed.

Can I take my usual medication?

Essential medication may be taken with a sip of water. If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor before taking any medication on the morning of your exam.

During the Exam

A Radiologist and a technologist will be present during the exam. You will be asked to swallow a mildly flavored barium drink. The barium mixture fills your stomach and small intestine so that they can be seen on X-rays. The Radiologist will watch this on a special X-ray television screen. Periodically, the Radiologist will ask you to change your position or hold your breath so that "snapshots" or spot films may be taken.

Will it Hurt?


How Long Will it Take?

The exam of your esophagus and stomach may take up to 30 minutes.

An exam involving your small intestine may take longer than two hours. This is unpredictable since it depends on how fast the barium moves through the small intestine. We will take an X-ray every half hour to observe the movement of barium through the small intestine.

After the Exam

You may eat as soon as the exam is over. You should drink plenty of liquids to avoid constipation form the barium. If instructed by the Radiologist, you should take four tablespoons of a mild laxative such as milk of magnesia.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.