Air Enema for Intussusception

An air enema is a test which uses X-rays and air to take pictures of the intestines.

The test shows the doctors if there is an intussusception (in-tuh-suh-SEP-shun), a condition where the bowel backs up into itself like a telescope.

Your child will lie on an X-ray table. An enema of air will be given while X-ray pictures are taken of the abdomen. If an intussusception is seen, the radiologist may try to relieve it by inserting more air into the intestines with a small amount of pressure.

If your child is unable to lie still, our staff will assist your child in holding still. This test lasts about one hour or sometimes longer. The X-ray technologist will keep you informed.

You are encouraged to stay with your child during the test. Children are often more cooperative and less apprehensive when a loved one is with them. If you are pregnant, you will have to wait outside the room during the pictures. It is helpful to have another caregiver watch the child's siblings so you can be with your child.

It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs. 

When the enema is complete your child will pass the air out of his / her intestines. The gas may persist for a few hours after the test.

You will return to the emergency department or your child's room when all of the X-ray pictures are complete. You will receive results from the physician who ordered the test.


Last Updated 07/2013