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You are scheduled to have a small bowel study on: ________________ at: ________ am/pm.

◻ UW Hospital

600 Highland Ave

Take the Atrium elevators to 3rd floor

Check in at the G3/3 reception desk

◻ 1 S. Park Clinic

1 S. Park St. 

Madison, WI 53715

◻UW Health Digestive Center

750 University Row

Madison, WI 53705

What is a small bowel study?

A small bowel study is an x-ray of the small bowel. The contrast used for this test is dense and can be seen clearly on x-ray. 

How do I get ready for this test?

Your doctor’s office will schedule your exam. Two days before the test, we will call you to tell you when and where to arrive for your test. Ask your doctor if you should take your normal medicines before this exam.

How do I prepare the day before the test?

Do not eat or drink after midnight, unless your doctor has told you to take pills with a sip of water. 

What happens the day of the test? 

On the day of the exam, check in at the reception desk or kiosk. When the tech takes you to the dressing room, they will give you a robe and gown to put on.

We will ask you to lay on the x-ray table and drink contrast. The doctor will monitor the test on the TV screen and will take pictures throughout the test. The lights will be dim so the doctor can clearly see the screen. The whirring noise you hear is made by the x-ray machine. The study takes about two hours but may last up to 8 hours depending on how fast the contrast passes through your small intestines.

What happens after the test? 

The radiologist will review the images and write a report about the results by the end of the day. The radiologist will talk with the provider who ordered the test about the results. Your doctor will talk over the test results with you and make plans for further treatment, if needed.

Your stools will be white for a day or two. This is normal. This is the contrast passing out of your bowel. Contrast can cause constipation, so drink extra fluids to help move the contrast out. Ask your doctor if you need to take 2 Tbsp of Milk of Magnesia® to help you expel the contrast.  

Resume your normal diet unless told otherwise by your doctor.

When to Call

Call if you have any questions or concerns about your test or you need to cancel or reschedule. 

Who to Call

Radiology Scheduling 

608-263-9729, press 2

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.