Benefits and Risks – X-ray, Lower GI Tract

Benefits

  • Lower GI tract radiography is an extremely safe, noninvasive procedure.
  • The results of the lower GI series usually lead to accurate evaluation of the large intestine, also known as the colon.
  • Because barium is not absorbed into the blood, allergic reactions are extremely rare.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after an x-ray examination.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.

Risks

  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
  • The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies.
  • Occasional patients may be allergic to the flavoring added to some brands of barium. If you have experienced allergic reactions after eating chocolate, certain berries or citrus fruit, be sure to tell your physician or the technologist before the procedure.
  • There is a slight chance that some barium could be retained, leading to a blockage of the digestive system. Therefore, patients who have a known obstruction in the GI tract should not undergo this examination.
  • Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

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