15 doctors weighed in:

A barium enema does not sound fun, but it is effective to diagnose colon polyps?

15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

Barium enemas while not as good as colonoscopy are fairly good at detecting right sided colon polyps and colon cancers.
Unfortunately, barium enema is not as good at looking at sigmoid colon polyps as colonoscopy.

In brief: Yes

Barium enemas while not as good as colonoscopy are fairly good at detecting right sided colon polyps and colon cancers.
Unfortunately, barium enema is not as good at looking at sigmoid colon polyps as colonoscopy.
Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
Dr. Jeffrey Crespin
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Dr. Kenneth Adler
Family Medicine

In brief: No

Barium enema by itself has never been a great test to catch all colon polyps.
We use to ask for a "double contrast" barium enema and combine that with a sigmoidoscopy (partial colonoscopy while awake) as a screening option but that is rarely done now (except in cases where a colonoscopy can't be performed). Colonoscopy is now the test of choice.

In brief: No

Barium enema by itself has never been a great test to catch all colon polyps.
We use to ask for a "double contrast" barium enema and combine that with a sigmoidoscopy (partial colonoscopy while awake) as a screening option but that is rarely done now (except in cases where a colonoscopy can't be performed). Colonoscopy is now the test of choice.
Dr. Kenneth Adler
Dr. Kenneth Adler
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Dr. Michael Carson
Internal Medicine

In brief: Yes

Since screening for colon cancer is important for people over 50, and our community does not have a way to provide them for the un- or underinsured, an air-cotnrast barium enema is an excellent, approved alternative for those without adequate insurance.
Ct colonoscopy was studied and found to be inferior to regular colonoscopy.

In brief: Yes

Since screening for colon cancer is important for people over 50, and our community does not have a way to provide them for the un- or underinsured, an air-cotnrast barium enema is an excellent, approved alternative for those without adequate insurance.
Ct colonoscopy was studied and found to be inferior to regular colonoscopy.
Dr. Michael Carson
Dr. Michael Carson
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Dr. Latisha Smith
Wound care

In brief: Yes

Barium enema will diagnose most colon polyps, however it is not the preferred test to find colon polyps.
If polyps are seen on a barium enema then you would need to have a colonoscopy to remove the polyps. Thus having a colonoscopy to diagnose the presence of polyps will save you from having to undergo 2 procedures. Removal of polyps can be lifesaving if cancer is found in the polyps.

In brief: Yes

Barium enema will diagnose most colon polyps, however it is not the preferred test to find colon polyps.
If polyps are seen on a barium enema then you would need to have a colonoscopy to remove the polyps. Thus having a colonoscopy to diagnose the presence of polyps will save you from having to undergo 2 procedures. Removal of polyps can be lifesaving if cancer is found in the polyps.
Dr. Latisha Smith
Dr. Latisha Smith
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Dr. Andrew Carroll
Family Medicine

In brief: Yes

But only larger polyps.
For smaller polyps, you'll really be better off with a colonoscopy.

In brief: Yes

But only larger polyps.
For smaller polyps, you'll really be better off with a colonoscopy.
Dr. Andrew Carroll
Dr. Andrew Carroll
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine

In brief: No

A qualified "no" - the barium enema might find some polyps, but the colonoscopy is the gold standard test, both because of its sensitivity and accuracy and because once within the colon polpys can be removed for analysis, which is of course impossible with the barium enema.

In brief: No

A qualified "no" - the barium enema might find some polyps, but the colonoscopy is the gold standard test, both because of its sensitivity and accuracy and because once within the colon polpys can be removed for analysis, which is of course impossible with the barium enema.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
Internal Medicine

In brief: No

You will see some - but you will miss sigmoid polyps and flat polyps can go undetected - that would be bad.

In brief: No

You will see some - but you will miss sigmoid polyps and flat polyps can go undetected - that would be bad.
Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz
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In brief: Yes

A barium enema has about a 90% sensitivity in detecting polyps and cancer.
This is similar to colonoscopy. Colonoscopy offers the advantage of biopsy at the time of examination. Barium enema is less expensive and reproducible. Barium enema does not require sedation. Ct colonography is now available at some imaging centers and hospitals. Advancements with computer aided detection are coming.

In brief: Yes

A barium enema has about a 90% sensitivity in detecting polyps and cancer.
This is similar to colonoscopy. Colonoscopy offers the advantage of biopsy at the time of examination. Barium enema is less expensive and reproducible. Barium enema does not require sedation. Ct colonography is now available at some imaging centers and hospitals. Advancements with computer aided detection are coming.
Dr. Stephen Saponaro
Dr. Stephen Saponaro
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Dr. Cynthia Point
Internal Medicine

In brief: Yes

It isn't the best test.
Better ways to look are colonoscopies, or ct colonoscopy.

In brief: Yes

It isn't the best test.
Better ways to look are colonoscopies, or ct colonoscopy.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Dr. Cynthia Point
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Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine

In brief: No

As mentioned, barium enema has some usefulness in detecting polyps, but has many limitations.
It only gives a picture of the left side of the colon and right-sided polyps are more common than once thought. In addition, nothing replaces the effectiveness of directing visulaizing the colon with a scope.

In brief: No

As mentioned, barium enema has some usefulness in detecting polyps, but has many limitations.
It only gives a picture of the left side of the colon and right-sided polyps are more common than once thought. In addition, nothing replaces the effectiveness of directing visulaizing the colon with a scope.
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Dr. Paige Gutheil
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Dr. John Washburn
Family Medicine

In brief: No

Barium enema can sometimes identify masses in the colon but is not considered an effective means of colon cancer screening or identifying colon polyps.
The best way to do this is either by full colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.

In brief: No

Barium enema can sometimes identify masses in the colon but is not considered an effective means of colon cancer screening or identifying colon polyps.
The best way to do this is either by full colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Dr. John Washburn
Dr. John Washburn
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Dr. Don W Hodson
Family Medicine

In brief: Yes

A time honored tradition of effectiveness is held by the combination of barium enema and sigmoidoscopy.
The combination can be very effective at diagnosis of colon polyps and/or cancer. That said, if something suspicious is found a colonoscopy is required for direct visualization, biopsy, or removal, sometimes requiring a second colon preparation procedure on another day.

In brief: Yes

A time honored tradition of effectiveness is held by the combination of barium enema and sigmoidoscopy.
The combination can be very effective at diagnosis of colon polyps and/or cancer. That said, if something suspicious is found a colonoscopy is required for direct visualization, biopsy, or removal, sometimes requiring a second colon preparation procedure on another day.
Dr. Don W Hodson
Dr. Don W Hodson
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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine

In brief: Yes

Barium is an x-ray dye that can show polyps and masses in the colon, but it is less accurate than a colonoscopy, especially in the earlier parts of the colon (as previously mentioned by dr. Crespin.
) the best test is by direct visualization through a colonoscopy, the gold standard for colon cancer screening (and polyp detection.).

In brief: Yes

Barium is an x-ray dye that can show polyps and masses in the colon, but it is less accurate than a colonoscopy, especially in the earlier parts of the colon (as previously mentioned by dr. Crespin.
) the best test is by direct visualization through a colonoscopy, the gold standard for colon cancer screening (and polyp detection.).
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Thank
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