Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBAS or MBSS)

What is a Modified Barium Swallow and what does it do?

A Modified Barium Swallow Study is an objective evaluation of the oropharyngeal swallow mechanism. Fluoroscopic (real-time moving images) and x-rays are taken while the patient swallows different consistencies of food and liquids that contain barium as a contrast material. The study allows for assessment of swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) that can include aspiration (food or liquids entering the windpipe and reaching the level below the vocal cords). A speech pathologist administers the food and liquids during the study then reviews and interprets the video and makes diet recommendations. The patient is allowed to eat or drink before this study.

Who performs the test?

The examination is performed by a Speech Language Pathologist, a doctor specially trained in Radiology (Radiologist) and a licensed Radiologic Technologist RT (R).

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Radiology Department.

How long does it take?

The average person takes about 15–30 minutes.

What can I do to make it a success?

  • Wear comfortable, easy to remove clothing.
  • Patients may be required to put a gown on for Fluoroscopy x-ray exams.
  • Follow all preparation instructions given to you by your physician’s office. If you have any questions, please call us for clarification. We want your exam to be as successful as possible.

What should I do before the exam?

  • There is no preparation required for a modified barium swallow.
  • If you are a woman of childbearing age and there is a chance you may be pregnant, please consult your physician before scheduling this exam.

What happens during the exam?

  • This exam is done in coordination with the Speech Pathologist.
  • The Speech pathologist will give you several foods to eat, each with varying densities and textures to evaluate how well you swallow each. The foods will be coated with barium so the Radiologist and Speech Pathologist can observe you on fluoroscopy as you swallow and they will take images as necessary.

What should I do after the exam?

  • You will be given discharge instructions requesting that a mild laxative be taken after the study.
  • After the examination, your stool will be lightly colored from the barium for 24 to 72 hours. It is important to remove the barium from the large intestine. If the barium is not removed, it may harden and block the intestine. Drink 6 to 8 glasses (soda pop can size) of liquid after the test to help get rid of the barium. This will also help to keep you from being constipated or dehydrated.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Radiology Department: (850) 718-2580

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