What are some preparation tips for an esophagram procedure?


Quick Answer

Tips for preparing for an esophagram procedure include avoiding cigarettes and chewing gum after midnight before the procedure; informing the physician of current or recent illnesses; informing the physician, or the radiology specialist performing the procedure, of a pregnancy; and removing metal items such as eyeglasses and jewelry immediately before the exam. Patients may eat normally on the evening before the scheduled esophagram, notes University of Washington Medicine.

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Full Answer

An esophagram, or barium swallow x-ray test, allows physicians to examine the shape of the patient’s throat and esophagus, explains the Rochester General Health System. During the test, the patient swallows barium, which clearly shows the outline of the esophagus on an imaging scan as it passes through. Any growths, indentations or other deformations are clearly visible on the scan. An esophagram is typically only part of a battery of tests performed on the gastrointestinal tract.

A physician usually conducts an esophagram if the patient has swallowing or digestive difficulties, states the Rochester General Health System. Symptoms that may lead a physician to order an esophagram include regurgitating food, very frequent vomiting, swallowing problems of any type, and pain originating in the esophagus. Although the esophagus is extremely adaptable, conditions such as tumors and ulcers can affect its functioning, and an esophagram may be able to detect those conditions.

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