Why the Test is Performed
The barium enema is used to detect colon cancer, although it is used much less often than in the past.
It may also be used to diagnose and evaluate the extent of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or other bowel disease.
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the smallest amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to x-ray risks.
A more serious risk is a perforated colon, which is very rare.
Tough call. Is doing the colonoscopy over an option? I've always heard the doc will stop the colonoscopy if the cleansing was incomplete.