A barium swallow or meal allows the Radiologist to view your oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach.

Sometimes this will be done with a speech pathologist present who will to assess the swallowing mechanism of their patient. Sometimes a biscuit or slice of bread is dipped in the barium and swallowed to demonstrate eating solids.

Barium Swallows can be performed at the following Dr Jones & Partners locations:

X-ray Barium Swallow / Meal Procedure

For a barium swallow you will be given some liquid barium to drink while standing in front of an X-Ray camera. The liquid is white and chalky with no distinct taste. The barium is dense so it can be seen inside your body with the X-Ray machine as it passes through. You may be asked to hold the liquid in your mouth and then swallow when asked to ensure the timing is measured. The Radiologist will watch the liquid as you swallow and take images accordingly. Front and side-on perspectives are usually observed. You may be given some additional liquid or granules that will make gas in your stomach. The gas makes you stomach easier to see but will give you the urge to burp (which you should refrain from until the study is complete). The standing camera table can be laid down so your digestion can be assessed when lying down. This is usually done at the end of the procedure. You may be asked to turn onto your abdomen or side and drink some more barium through a straw.

Before your Scan

You will need to fast for 6 hours prior to the examination.


15 – 30 minutes

Other Information

After the procedure, the fluid (barium) you have swallowed for this examination may lead to constipation.

We suggest you maintain a high fluid intake for two days after your examination.

lf you have any problems, please feel free to speak to the staff before you leave, they will be happy to help you.

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