Barium enema with air contrast involves a chalky liquid used to coat the inside of organs so they will show up on an X-ray and is administered into the rectum to partially fill up the colon. Air is then pumped into expanding the colon and rectum, and an X-ray of the abdomen is taken that can show strictures, blockages, and other problems.
Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the physician to view the entire length of the large intestine and can often help identify abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. It involves inserting a colonoscope, a long, flexible lighted tube in through the rectum up into the colon and allows the physician to see the lining of the colon, remove tissue for further exam and possibly treat some problems that are discovered.
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) is a procedure that uses computerized tomography (CT) scans to examine the colon for polyps or masses. The images are processed by a computer to make a 3D model of the colon. Virtual colonoscopy is noninvasive but does require a small tube to be inserted into the rectum to pump air into the colon. If something abnormal is seen with this test, a standard colonoscopy will be needed as a follow-up.
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is similar to a FOBT, but doesn’t require any restrictions on diet or medications prior to the test.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the physician to examine the inside of a portion of the large intestine with a short, flexible tube that has a small video camera on the end called a sigmoidoscopy. The scope is inserted into the intestine through the rectum and blows air into the intestine to inflate it and make viewing the inside easier.
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) checks for hidden blood in the stool and involves placing a very small amount of stool on a special card that is sent to a lab.