This X-ray creates several detailed images of the esophagus, commonly known as the food pipe.
An X-ray of the esophagus, or “barium swallow”, creates several detailed images of:
The images are taken before and after swallowing a dye called barium sulfate.
Your health care provider may order a barium swallow to help determine the cause of:
Tell the technician if you are, or could be, pregnant. The exposure from a single X-ray has not been associated with harmful effects to an unborn baby, but precautions should be taken.
There may be times when your healthcare provider decides that directly looking at the esophagus will provide more information than an x-ray.
Prior to the procedure, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These may include:
Your healthcare provider may give you suggestions on ways you can prevent constipation after the use of barium. These can include fluids and a mild laxative.
The costs for this test include the charge for the test (facility charge) and physician charges (for performing or interpreting the test). You may get separate bills from the facility and the physician's office.
What should I ask my health care provider before having this test?
After your barium swallow, your healthcare provider should provide a description of any problems found during the procedure and what symptoms you should report. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.
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