Upper Gastrointestinal Series (UGI)
The UGI is an X-ray examination of the esophagus and stomach and is sometimes followed by images of the small bowel. You should arrive with an empty stomach (no food or drink after midnight). The radiologist will ask you to drink a barium mixture, which coats the digestive tract so that it becomes more visible. The radiologist views the movement of barium and may take several images while moving the patient to different positions. Barium is similar to Milk of Magnesia in consistency and taste.
The exam should take approximately 30–60 minutes. Additional images of the barium moving through the small intestine may be taken if requested by the referring physician. This can add anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. Throughout these procedures, the patient usually feels no discomfort or pain.