Benefits vs Risks of an Upper GI X-ray

Upper GI X-ray Benefits

  • Upper GI tract radiography is an extremely safe, noninvasive procedure.
  • The results of the upper GI series usually lead to accurate evaluation of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
  • Because barium is not absorbed into the blood, allergic reactions are extremely rare.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after an X-ray examination.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects in the diagnostic range.

Upper GI X-ray Risks

  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
  • The effective radiation dose from this procedure is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in two years.
  • Occasional patients may be allergic to the flavoring added to some brands of barium. If you have experienced allergic reactions after eating chocolate, certain berries or citrus fruit, be sure to tell your physician or the technologist before the procedure.
  • There is a slight chance that some barium could be retained, leading to a blockage of the digestive system. Therefore, patients who have a known obstruction in the GI tract should not undergo this examination.
  • Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Minimizing Radiation Exposure

Special care is taken to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best X-ray images. At Sky Ridge, we follow national and international radiology protection council standards.

Modern-day X-ray machines have tightly controlled X-ray beams that filter the beams and control the dose of radiation. This ensures that parts of a patient's body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure.