Health Library
Contrast Enema

What is a Contrast Enema?

This is a test which uses X-rays and a special kind of enema solution and/or air to take pictures of the colon or large bowel, which is the lower part of the intestines. The test shows the doctor if there are abnormalities of the colon or distal small intestine.

What is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a type of imaging that uses X-Ray pictures to look inside the body. Like a video, these pictures are real time, live, moving images.

What is a Contrast Enema?

A fluoroscopy exam that takes pictures as the patient’s rectum and bowel is filled with a clear liquid called contrast. The contrast goes into the bowel using a small and flexible tube placed into rectum.

What Should You Know Before a Contrast Enema?

  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.
  • Please bring extra clothes, diapers or pull ups.
  • No special patient preparation is required (patient may change into a gown).
  • Total estimated exam time is 60-90 minutes.
  • Siblings and other children will not be allowed in the exam room. Please make arrangements as we are unable to provide childcare.
  • Child Life Specialists may be available to provide preparation and support during the exam.
  • What Should You Know During a Contrast Enema?

  • A parent or caregiver can stay close to the patient during the entire exam holding hands, talking, and providing comfort.
  • The patient will lay down on the procedure bed and a technologist may take an X-ray picture of the belly.
  • The patient will be positioned laying on his / her side.
  • A small, soft tube is inserted into the rectum.
  • The liquid contrast will flow in through the tube.
  • The technologist and other staff may help hold the tube in place.
  • The radiologist will take fluoroscopy pictures to watch the contrast move through the bowel.
  • The patient may be positioned laying on his / her side, back or belly.
  • The tube will be removed and the patient will release (poop) the contrast in a diaper, pull-up or the toilet.
  • Another X-ray picture of the belly may be taken after “pooping.”
  • What Should You Know After a Contrast Enema?

  • The patient may be cleaned with wipes, warm water and / or washcloths.
  • The patient may continue to feel the urge to “poop” and need diaper changes or to use the bathroom more frequently.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • The results will be available to the ordering doctor and in MyChart within 24 hours.
  • Last Updated 01/2022

    Reviewed By Becci Pryor, BS, CRA, RT(R)
    Contact Us.