What is an U.G.I. exam?

An upper gastrointestinal (U.G.I.) exam uses an X-ray to obtain pictures of your U.G.I. tract. This includes your throat, stomach and small intestine. A white chalky material called barium sulfate (contrast) coats the wall of the U.G.I. tract. The contrast helps make it possible to detect medical problems.

How Do I Prepare for an U.G.I. Exam? 

On the night before the exam you are not to eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke or chew gum the day of the exam. You should not take any medications in the morning unless instructed by your doctor.

Before the exam

Tell your doctor and/or technologist if you:

  • Are or might be pregnant 

  • Are breastfeeding  

  • Are allergic to any medications and/or food including iodine 

  • Have diabetes 

  • Have a history of kidney problems, asthma or multiple myeloma

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the exam. You will be asked to remove any jewelry.

Information to bring

Bring your insurance information, personal identification, prescription for the exam and any prior studies and reports for comparison to today’s scan.

Other reports

Please be sure to provide HUMC any films and/or reports from other facilities that relate to today’s exam. The radiologist reviews and compares your previous exams with your new exam.               

How Long Will the Exam Take?

The exam takes about 40 minutes. Time may vary, depending on the nature of the study and other factors.

What Happens During the Exam?

A radiologist will perform the U.G.I. exam. You will be asked to step onto a platform. Your radiologist or technologist will gently position you on a special tilting table. Initially the table will be in an upright position.  

You will be asked to drink a fizzy substance, followed by barium. Using an X-ray machine, your radiologist will observe the barium as you are drinking. It will show the inner linings of the stomach. The table will be tilted down. You will be asked to turn in several different positions. During this time, some gentle pressure may be applied to your stomach.

What Happens After the Exam?

You can return to normal activities and your usual diet, unless told otherwise by your doctor. Please drink plenty of water. It is normal for the barium to give a whitish color to your stools for the next few days. Barium may cause constipation. If you have any problems consult your doctor.

When Do I Get the Results?

You can expect your physician to receive a written report within 3 to 5 working days.

About Our Staff and Equipment 

The equipment of Hackensack Radiology is maintained in excellent condition. All of our equipment meets federal government standards. 

Radiologists who are certified by the American Board of Radiology operate our radiology center. Our technologists are licensed by the State of New Jersey and are certified by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. With top-tier certifications and licenses given to its staff, our Radiology Department is able to provide quality services to patients in Northern New Jersey and beyond.

Survey and Contact Information

You may receive a survey by mail. We are asking for feedback on how we can improve our services and care. Please take a few minutes to reply. We would appreciate your input in order to provide the highest quality of care.  

If you have any questions, please call our Radiology Department at 551-996-2245.

close (X)