A gastrointestinal (GI) or genitourinary (GU) scan allows us to study the gastrointestinal or genitourinary system through fluoroscopy and X-ray contrast.
- Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to create “real time” or moving images of the body.
- X-ray contrast is used to highlight specific organs so we can see the area being studied.
A GI scan can take 30 minutes to several hours to be completed.
GI/GU rooms have a flat table with a camera that pulls over the patient to create a small tent. The radiologist or technologist will move this camera up and down to examine the area. The room lights are dim to allow the images to be seen with more detail. During the test, the machine might make noises and we may tilt the table up and down. Only one person is allowed in the room with the patient during the study.
X-ray contrast is given in various ways depending on the study:
This includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, the patient will drink the X-ray contrast.
This includes the bladder, ureters, kidneys, and urethra. The X-ray contrast will be put into the bladder with a catheter.
X-ray contrast will be be administered using an enema tube.
There are different preparations depending on the and the age of your child. For upper GI exams (esophagus/throat, stomach or small intestines):
- Children UNDER the age of 2 will need to fast (no eating or drinking) for 4 hours.
- Children 2 and OVER will need to fast (no eating or drinking) from midnight.
These exams are typically booked early in the morning. Early morning bookings are for upper not lower exams. For lower GI exams (large intestines) or any GU exams (bladder, kidney, urethra) no preparation is needed.
*if your child has a G-tube or colostomy please bring extra supplies.
We offer coping tools during the scan:
- Sucrose (sugar water) is available for babies under the age of 6 months.
- Light sedation may be offered for certain procedures. Our team will review and organize this during your booking.
- Child Life specialists will be available Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to help prepare and support you child during the procedure.
- A Child Life specialist can be present at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child adjust to the hospital experience.
If your child has allergies to radiographic contrast, additional preparations may be necessary. Please speak with your primary care provider about contrast allergies. If you are pregnant, you will not be allowed to stay in the X-ray room with your child. Please bring someone else with you who can stay with your child during the test, if needed.
The study will be reported by a paediatric radiologist and the results will be sent to a physician.