An upper GI and small bowel series is done in a doctor's office or hospital radiology department.
You may be given an injection of a medicine that slows muscle movement in the small intestine. This lets the doctor see structures can be more easily on the x-rays.
Before the x-rays are taken, you must drink 16 - 20 ounces of a milkshake-like drink. The drink contains a substance called barium, which shows up well on x-rays.
An x-ray method called fluoroscopy tracks how the barium moves through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Pictures are taken with you in a variety of positions. You may be sitting or standing.
The test usually takes around 3 hours but can take as long as 6 hours to complete.
A GI series may include this test or a barium enema.