What Is the Dye Test Done for an Ileostomy Reversal?


Quick Answer

The dye test for ileostomy reversal involves having an enema containing a dye agent, followed by a colon X-ray. The enema and X-ray are used to check for leaks in the colon and to ensure the anal sphincter is functioning properly, states Drugs.com.

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Full Answer

The dye test is used prior to a patient having ileostomy reversal surgery. A catheter is inserted into a patient’s anus, and the contrast dye agent is slowly introduced into it. The dye disperses and highlights the proximal bowel, including the area of the ileostomy stoma placement. A physician views images of the bowel to compare with a patient’s clinical examination and symptoms, explains National Institutes of Health and Southern Colorectal.

Gastrografin is commonly used for the dye test and is similar to barium, although gastrografin is water soluble and barium is not. A water-soluble agent is used for the dye test when a more viscous agent, such as barium, is not practical or is dangerous. Gastrografin is relatively high in iodine content and possesses a radiodensity that provides sufficient contrast with surrounding tissues. Radiopaque agents such as grastrografin have few known side effects. Contrast agents such as gastrografin are also used for radiographic imaging of other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the proximal large intestine, stomach and esophagus, according to Drugs.com.

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