A defaecogram is a fluoroscopy study (X-ray images as a movie) of the bowel to assess pelvic floor function during muscle exercises and defaecation.

The study will be performed by a radiographer in close consultation with a Queensland X-ray radiologist.

The defaecogram study uses a combination of contrast agents that can be visualised on X-ray. To achieve the best possible imaging, three types of contrast are used for the test – oral contrast, rectal contrast and in women, vaginal contrast

Due to the sensitive nature of this examination, all efforts are taken to make this procedure comfortable and to minimise embarrassment for our patients.

Defaecogram FAQs

  • There are several reasons why your doctor may have referred you for a defaecogram. It is most commonly performed for patients who have a history of constipation, difficulty defecating, incontinence or other conditions affecting the pelvic floor muscles.

    • There is no bowel preparation required for a defaecogram study.
    • We recommend wearing a separate top and bottoms during your appointment as this makes changing for the examination easier.
    • Our team will provide any specific instructions at the time of booking.
  • Upon arrival, you will be provided with documentation to complete including an examination consent form and a questionnaire to allow us to gain a comprehensive understanding of your pelvic history and problem.

    Once this documentation has been completed and you have consented to the procedure, you will be asked to change in to a gown.

    At the beginning of the examination, an X-ray will be taken of your abdomen. Following this, you will be required to drink an oral contrast mixture. You will be then asked to lie on your right side or sit in a waiting area for a duration of time (between 15 minutes to one hour depending on the oral contrast utilised for the study) to allow this contrast to travel through to your small bowel.

    Another abdominal X-ray will be taken to confirm this has occurred before proceeding with the next stage of the examination.

    For females, a vaginal gel contrast may be inserted to assist in identifying the pelvic region structures, if you consent to do so.

    A rectal contrast will then be inserted and X-ray imaging will be taken while you perform pelvic floor exercises. You will also be asked to empty your bowel during the procedure where further X-ray images are taken to assess bowel movement.

    There is a possibility you may be required to use a fast acting suppository (Microlax) during the examination if you are unable to evacuate your bowel sufficiently to provide the required diagnostic information.

  • A defaecogram may take up to two hours to complete. The exact duration of the procedure is difficult to predict as it relies on your own body’s natural process of digestion for the oral contrast to pass to the small bowel.

  • Fees for defaecogram examinations will vary depending on a number of factors. We will advise you ahead of time about the cost of our service. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

How much will it cost?

Fees for radiology procedures will vary depending on a variety of factors. We will advise you about the cost of your service at the time of booking but if you do have any questions, contact us and one of our team will be happy to help with your query. You can read more about our billing information here.

How do I access my images?

At Queensland X-Ray, we provide our patients with their images and results online. To access your images and results, you’ll need to register for an account when you visit one of our practices. If you’ve already registered, you can access the Patient Portal here.

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