What is a Modified Barium Swallow Study?

  • A modified barium swallow is type of X-ray done under Fluoroscopy with collaboration of a Speech Pathologist The purpose of the study is to take pictures of the throat, such as the trachea and windpipe, to see how your child swallows.
  • The study helps the doctor see if food or liquid is going into the airway after being swallowed.
  • During the test, your child will be asked to eat and drink different types of textured food and drinks such as cookies and apple sauce that is mixed with a special substance called “barium”.
  • Barium acts as a highlighter to allow the doctor to see the movement of the food through the esophagus.
  • The x-ray takes between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on how well your child cooperates during the test.
  • A Nicklaus Children’s Hospital staff member will call you ahead of time with details and instructions on how to prepare for the test including what kinds of foods to bring the day of the exam and the specific amount of time your child may not eat before the exam.
 

What to Expect the Day of the Exam 

Step 1: Getting Ready
  • A staff member of the Radiology Department will walk you from the waiting room to the X-ray room.  
  • Once in the X-ray room, you will see a camera attached to a long table with a video screen behind it.
  • The table will be positioned in an upright/downside position.  A chair will be placed next to the table where your child will be safely secured and sitting in during the pictures.

Step 2: Taking Pictures
  • Next, the Speech Pathologist will feed your child a mixture of food and drinks of different consistencies while the Radiologist captures pictures. 
  • The camera will be positioned next to your child’s throat and stomach, but never touches your child. Reassure your child that the camera does not hurt.
  • As your child swallows the food, the pictures will be able to show how well your child swallows each item of food. 
  • The test usually takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete and does not hurt.

Step 3: Results
Results will be sent to your doctor usually within 48 hours.  
Contact Radiology
1-888-624-8413

Service Locations

Nicklaus Children's Hospital Main Hospital Campus
3100 SW 62nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33155