Types of X-ray

An X-ray image is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through the body to expose sensitive film on the other side. The ability of X-rays to penetrate tissues and bones depends on the tissue's composition and mass. The difference between these two elements creates the images. There are many types of X-ray, including:

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI)

Upper gastrointestinal tract radiography, or upper GI, uses a form of real-time X-ray called fluoroscopy and a barium-based contrast material to produce images of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. It is safe, noninvasive and may be used to help accurately diagnose pain, acid reflux, blood in the stool and other symptoms.

Barium Enema

This procedure examines the rectum, the large intestine and the lower part of the small intestine using a contrast dye containing barium. The barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid) coats the inside of the organs so that it will appear on an X-ray, showing strictures (narrowed areas), obstructions (blockages) and other problems.

Barium Swallow

A barium swallow (also called an upper gastrointestinal (GI) series) is a diagnostic test that examines the organs of the upper part of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). A fluid called barium is swallowed. X-rays are then taken to evaluate the digestive organs.


Fluoroscopy is a medical test in which a continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.

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