Fluoroscopy Preparation and Exams

Barium Enema Prep

For Patients Age 14 and Older (Adult prep):

Obtain the following from a pharmacy at least one day prior to your barium enema examination and follow the instructions below.

  • A 10 ounce bottle of magnesium citrate or a packet to mix 10 ounces
  • 4 Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) tablets
  • 1 Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) suppository

Instructions for the day before the examination:

  1. No solid foods are allowed on the day prior to the exam, including breakfast.
  2. Only clear liquids should be taken by mouth. See list below. Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of fluid (we recommend 1-12 ounce glass of fluid every hour while awake).
  3. Between 3 – 5:00 p.m. drink a 10 ounce bottle of magnesium citrate.
  4. Between 7 – 8:00 p.m. take four (4) Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) tablets with at least one full glass of water.Do not crush or chew the tablets. Swallow the tablets whole.

Instructions for the day of the examination:

  1. Nothing should be taken by mouth, except that essential medication is allowed up to 2 hours prior to exam with 1 oz. of water.
  2. Insert the Bisacodyl suppository into the rectum the morning of the exam, two hours before the appointment time. (Remove the foil wrap from the suppository. Lie on side; insert suppository well up into the rectum. Push suppository in gently as far as possible and against bowel wall. Wait for 15 minutes before evacuating, even if the urge is strong. Suppositories are usually effective within 15 minutes to 1 hour. Note: If suppository is soft, put it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 minutes.)

Clear Liquids includes: water, lemonade, strained fruit juices without pulp (apple, cranberry, orange, grape, etc.), clear broth or bouillon, and coffee or tea (without milk or nondairy creamer). You may have all of the following: Gatorade®, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, Kool-Aid® (or other fruit flavored drinks); Jell-O®(without added fruits or toppings) and ice Popsicles®.

For Patients Age 13 and Younger:


  • No prep is used when the study is for Hirschsprung disease, acute abdomen conditions, or active inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Use clear liquids and light meal options, same as for adults.

0-2 years of age

  • No solid foods on day of exam. May have clear liquids until time of exam. No solid foods on day of exam. May have clear liquids until time of exam.

3-5 years of age

  • Day before exam, encourage drinking plenty of clear liquids.
  • Choose from the light meal foods below up to noon. After noon, only clear liquids are allowed.
  • Administer 4 oz. (120cc) of magnesium citrate at 4:00 pm the day before the exam. Serve magnesium citrate chilled.
  • Administer 1 Dulcolax tablet at 6:00 pm the day before exam.
  • No solid foods after 10:00 pm the night before exam.
  • Nothing by mouth starting 4 hours before exam.

6-13 years of age

  • Clear liquid diet the day before exam. (Note: No milk or milk products.)
  • Throughout the day before exam, clear liquids are strongly encouraged.
  • Administer 6 oz. (180cc) of magnesium citrate at 4:00 pm the day before exam. Serve magnesium citrate chilled.
  • Administer 2 Dulcolax tablets at 6:00 pm the day before exam.
  • Nothing by mouth after 10:00 pm the night before exam.

14 years of age & older – Use adult prep.

Light Meal includes: any items from the Clear Liquids Diet List: one boiled or poached egg or small portion of skinless chicken, turkey or fish; white toast no butter; one 8 oz can of Ensure.® Do not take Ensure ®Plus. Do not eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, butter, milk, cheese, beef, pork, lamb, or whole grain cereals.


Upper G.I. Series

An Upper G.I. Series is a fluoroscopic examination that uses a special substance, barium sulfate contrast media, to highlight the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. This exam lasts approximately 30 minutes.

On the day before the examination:

  • Do not eat anything after 10:00 p.m. You may have clear liquids until midnight and then nothing until after the examination.

On the day of the examination:

  • Do not eat or drink anything, chew gum or smoke until your examination has been completed.
  • However, if your appointment is scheduled after 12:00 noon, you may drink up to one cup of clear liquid, coffee, or tea in the morning, but not later than 8:00 a.m.
  • Generally you are not allowed anything by mouth until your exam is completed. Consult your physician or our office before taking any medication. Feel free to bring your medication with you to take immediately after the exam.
  • After the exam, to prevent constipation, we recommend that you drink plenty of fluids and take a mild laxative, unless contraindicated by your doctor.

COVID-19 Update

The Governors of Maryland and Virginia have closed all non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Radiology centers have been classified as essential services. 

The health, well-being, and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We are committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19. We have taken steps to continue providing only critical service required to meet the needs of the community.  After very careful consideration we have decided to reschedule all non-urgent imaging appointments as well as consolidate our services by adjusting hours and center openings. To protect everyone, we are closely following the guidance of local, national and global health authorities – including the CDC – in addressing current challenges. As circumstances continue to change, we will keep you informed.

As the situation continues to develop in our community, we want to maintain our ability to provide quality service while safeguarding the health and safety of our patients and staff. We realize these are tenuous times and we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation and following the latest available CDC guidelines. In an effort to limit the risk of exposure for our patients and our employees who may be in high-risk categories, we are asking that you:

Please do not go to a Fairfax Radiology Center/Radiology Imaging Associates location if ANY of the following apply:

    1. You have cough, fever, or shortness of breath
    2. You have traveled by airplane or to New York City in the past 14 days or less
    3. You have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is undergoing a test (results pending) for COVID-19.

Instead, please contact your physician for instructions. Patients may call to reschedule their appointment once they are symptom and fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.

Trusted and Credible Resources for Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates:

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