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Small bowel enterography


This imaging exam is often used to find and identify problems in the bowel.

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Small bowel enterography is a type of CT scan. It uses special X-ray equipment and a liquid dye to take pictures of the inside of the small intestine, belly and pelvis.

This type of CT scan is often used to find problems like:

  • Inflammation (swelling)
  • Bleeding
  • Blockages
  • Crohn’s disease

CT scanning is quick, painless, exact and noninvasive, meaning no surgery is needed. 


About the exam

Accordion Block v2
  • Before your exam, you'll be asked to drink several glasses of a liquid that has the contrast in it. The total amount of liquid you'll need to drink is about one to one and a half liters. You'll need to drink the liquid in about an hour's time.

    If you don't think you can drink this much liquid before the exam, tell your doctor.

    The amount of liquid is enough to fill the small intestine. The fluid expands the small bowel so we can see abnormalities (anything that isn't normal) better. Sometimes contrast is given through a shot and less often through an enema.

    Next, we may give you a gown to wear during the exam. You'll lie flat on your back on the exam table. We may use straps and pillows to help you keep still and stay in the correct place on the table during the exam.

    Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to make sure you'll be in the right place on the table during the exam. Then, the table will move slowly through the scanner during the exam. The table may need to move through the scanner several times.

  • Before your scan

    Your doctor may order blood work if you’re over 60 years of age and:

    • IV contrast will be used
    • You’re diabetic or have kidney (organs that filter blood) disease

    On the day of your scan

    • Wear comfortable clothing that fits loosely
    • Remove bras with metal underwire and any metal or jewelry you may be wearing
    • Don’t eat or drink anything except water for four hours before the exam
    • Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking or allergies you have, especially to contrast material
    • Tell your doctor about any recent illnesses you’ve had
    • Tell our staff if there’s any chance you may be pregnant

    If you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney (organ that filters blood) disease or thyroid problems, that may affect the results of the exam. If there’s a chance you're pregnant, a pregnancy test should be done before the exam.

  • A specialized radiologist will review your exam and send a report to your doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about your exam results. After you talk to your doctor, the results are also available on MyChart.

    When you'll get results will depend on what type of CT scan you're having.

  • If your doctor tells you that you need this test, we'll contact you to schedule it. These scans require a pre-authorization form from your insurance company.

    If you choose to have a scan without a pre-authorization form, we require a deposit payment at your appointment. You may also be responsible for the full cost of your scan after your insurance has been billed.

    If you have questions about what your insurance plan covers, you should contact your insurance company directly.

  • For general questions, please call 1-206-329-1760. For billing, call 1-206-860-4500. To schedule an appointment, call 1-206-860-5496, option 2.


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