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Contrast Enema - Contrast Agent Imaging

Contrast Enema - Contrast Agent Imaging

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What is a contrast enema?
The procedure uses ionizing radiation (x-rays) and is usually performed using a single contrast technique to fill your child's colon with liquid (contrast agent) that is inserted into your child's rectum.

Why is it done?
A contrast enema is used to study the large intestine to detect abnormalities such as stenosis/obstruction that are not visible on standard radiology exams.

What happens during the procedure?
No particular preparation is necessary for the exam but the fewer faeces in the colon, the more accurate the exam.

The exam does not require anaesthesia or sedation: in order to perform the test accurately and depending on your child's age, non-collaborative children may need special equipment (immobilizing devices) such as straps, foam pads, sandbags to keep them still, safe (to keep them from falling off the exam table), and to avoid having to repeat the exam.

The immobilizing devices may leave temporary marks on children because their skin is very fragile, but falling off the radiography table is certainly worse!

In cases of non-collaborative children we request the presence of one parent who, fitted with the appropriate lead apron, stays near the child in order to distract him/her (for example talking with him/her during the exam).

To perform the exam, a small tube must be inserted into your child's rectum through which the contrast agent will be administered in gradual doses.

A technologist or Radiologist will carry out the exam explaining the procedure step by step and moving your child into different positions in order to accurately evaluate all the large intestine.

After the exam, the tube is removed. After your child has a bowel movement (don't worry if the stools are white!), more x-ray images will be taken until the contrast agent is eliminated; sometimes this requires having your child return after 24/48 hours!

Risks and side effects
In rare instances, your child may have stomach cramps. There are few risks and side effects to this procedure. The most serious is colon perforation and peritonitis.

Every radiology room is equipped with a crash cart in compliance with applicable laws.

The dose of radiation your child receives is extremely low and can be compared to the amount of natural baseline radiation our bodies are exposed to in the first few days of life.

Our highly trained staff and regular equipment maintenance and updating allows us to carry out diagnostic exams and acquire images with the necessary information for accurate diagnosis using the lowest possible dose of radiation.

Contrast Enema for Intussusception – Contrast Agent Imaging

What is a contrast enema for intussusception?
The procedure uses ionizing radiation (x-rays) and is performed using a single contrast agent to fill your child's colon with air/liquid that is inserted into your child's rectum.

Why is it done?
A contrast enema for intussusception is used to confirm colon obstruction caused by a part of the intestine slipping or folding into another part of the intestine (like a telescope).

In some cases the obstruction can be treated by gradually filling the intestine through the rectum with a contrast agent or air-contrast enema. The pressure from the enema is usually enough to unfold the intestine back into place and correct the problem.

If an enema is not possible, surgery is necessary.

What happens during the procedure?
This is an emergency procedure so prior preparation is not necessary unless an IV is required.

To perform the procedure, a small tube must be inserted into your child's rectum through which the contrast agent or air-contrast enema is administered.

A Radiologist will carry out the exam explaining the procedure step by step and moving your child into different positions in order to accurately evaluate all the large intestine.

The exam is finished when the portion of the trapped intestine is completely free and back to its normal position or when safety limits have been reached.  

Risks and side effects
The risks for this procedure are moderately high, especially in cases in which intussusception has been left untreated for a few hours.

More serious side effects (not infrequent) are colon perforation and peritonitis. Every radiology room is equipped with a crash cart in compliance with applicable laws.

The dose of radiation your child receives during this procedure is very low.