Abdominal Cat Scan With Barium: What You Need To Know

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Abdominal Cat Scan with Barium is a medical procedure that enables doctors to examine the stomach, small intestine, and colon. This procedure helps in the diagnosis of various ailments and conditions, such as tumors, inflammation, and blockages. In this article, we will discuss what an abdominal cat scan with barium is, how it works, what to expect during the procedure, and the risks involved.

What is Abdominal Cat Scan with Barium?

An abdominal cat scan with barium is a type of medical imaging that uses X-rays and a contrast agent (barium) to produce detailed images of the digestive system. The contrast agent is ingested orally or rectally, allowing the radiologist to see the gastrointestinal tract more clearly.

How Does It Work?

The procedure involves the patient lying down on a table, which moves through a doughnut-shaped machine called a CT scanner. The scanner takes multiple X-ray images, which are then processed by a computer to produce a three-dimensional image of the abdomen. The barium allows the radiologist to see the digestive system more clearly, making it easier to identify any abnormalities.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

Before the procedure, the patient will be asked to fast for several hours. The patient may also be asked to drink a solution to help empty the bowels. During the procedure, the patient will lie down on the table, and a radiologist will administer the contrast agent orally or rectally. The table will then move through the CT scanner, and the patient will be asked to hold their breath for a few seconds to avoid any motion blur. The procedure usually takes 30-60 minutes to complete.

Is It Safe?

Abdominal cat scan with barium is generally considered safe. However, there is a small risk of exposure to radiation, which can increase the risk of cancer. The risk of radiation exposure depends on the patient’s age, gender, and the number of scans they have had in the past. The contrast agent may also cause allergic reactions in some patients. It is essential to inform your doctor if you have any allergies before the procedure.


Abdominal cat scan with barium is a valuable medical procedure that helps diagnose various gastrointestinal ailments and conditions. It is a safe and painless procedure that usually takes less than an hour to complete. However, as with any medical procedure, there are risks involved, and patients should discuss these with their doctor before the procedure.


1. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (2021). Abdominal CT scan. Retrieved from https://www.nibib.nih.gov/health-information/abdominal-ct-scan

2. Radiological Society of North America. (2021). CT – Abdomen and Pelvis. Retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/ct-abdomen-pelvis

3. American College of Radiology. (2021). ACR Appropriateness Criteria® imaging for suspected appendicitis. Retrieved from https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/3104384/Narrative/