Upper GI Series

A diagnostic study using X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small bowel) with barium, air or both.

Exam Preparations

  • Please arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your exam time.
  • The exam takes about 30 minutes.
  • Nothing to eat, drink or smoke after midnight.
  • Patients under five years of age should have nothing to eat or drink four hours prior to exam.
  • Patients who will have an upper GI study, and been constipated, should take two Ducolax two days prior to their exam (barium only).
  • Bring prescribed medications with you the day of your study to take after the exam.
  • Jewelry, including piercing must be removed prior to your study. Patients are encouraged to leave all jewelry at home.

For your safety, please notify our scheduling department and technologists:

  • If you are diabetic
  • If you believe you may be pregnant

Patient Experience

You will begin this study in a standing position and be asked to drink carbonation crystals which creates gas to open up the stomach and esophagus. As the examination progresses, you will be asked to drink barium as a motorized table begins to lay you down on your back. The Radiologist will watch you swallow the barium and will take images as it travels to your stomach. During the process, you may be asked to turn from side to side, roll over, hold your breath, and hold different positions. This enables the Radiologist to capture views from several angles.

After The Exam

Once the exam is completed, the images are analyzed by a board certified radiologist who generates a diagnostic report outlining the findings. This report is then sent to your physician within 24 hours. Your physician will consider the radiologist's interpretation of your scan in the context of your overall care.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information on this procedure, we recommend visiting the Upper GI series section of RadiologyInfo.org.

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