Although I absolutely despite this test, it is bearable, and it gives the best picture of your small intestines. If you are like me, you have a hard time locating the origin of your symptoms. When done well, this test can give you are relatively clear picture of what is going on in your entire small bowel. For me, this knowledge is well worth the torture I go through having the test done.
Now you may be wondering what a CTE entails, so I am going to sum it up in my own words for you. Just remember, some of the test specifics vary from location to location.
To begin, you put on this huge diaper and hospital gown. Yup, I said diaper, and Yes, you do feel like a giant baby. Fun Stuff. Then they have you lay down in the X-Ray room on the nice soft metal table. Now they put numbing medicine up your nose. This stuff is absolutely disgusting. You know those things that when you think about them they make you gag? Well this is one of those for me. Sorry I need to go gag for a minute.
The best part of the procedure is the that they then give you versed, which is a twilight drug. You are consciously sedated during the procedure so you can respond to directions, but are kind of out of it.
They then insert a tube down your throat, past your stomach and into you small intestines. It's just about as fun as it sounds. After the tube is placed, you move this way and that way while they fill your entire bowel with contrast, while taking spot X-rays to ensure your bowels are filling properly. Just so you know, you have a lot of bowel, it takes a while. Thank goodness for sedation!
The final step is a CT scan. You scoot off the metal table onto the a rolling cot, are wheeled to the CT room, and scoot onto the CT bed. While all the while trying to keep from letting the contrast escape your clenched butt cheeks. They take one quick CT scan and then you spend some quality time in the bathroom emptying your contrast filled bowels. You will be emptying them a lot in the next 12 hours.
I know I went into my first CTE not knowing what to expect, so I wanted to write a piece letting people know what to actually expect during the procedure. This isn't meant to scare you, because while it is miserable, I truly believe the pros outweigh the cons. To me, this is just one more test for one more answer in my not so normal life.
*Disclaimer: Some of the specifics of this test will vary from hospital to hospital. Be sure to ask your doctor, what medications will be given and if the doctor performing the test is experienced with CTEs it makes a huge difference. You can also ask for pain medication if you need it.