SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Healthy colon, coloured double contrast barium enema X-ray. The colon (large intestine, red) is the final part of the digestive system. It receives digested food from the small intestine (not seen), which joins it at lower left. The colon's main function is to absorb water from the digested food, which arrives in a liquid form. The product of this is faeces, which are passed to the rectum (bottom centre), where they are stored for excretion through the anus. A double contrast barium enema is a diagnostic technique in which a solution of radio-opaque barium salts are introduced through the anus, and then air is used to inflate the colon.
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