SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Healthy appendix, coloured double contrast barium enema X-ray. The appendix (red) is the small finger-like projection from the caecum (dark red) at centre left. The caecum is the first part of the large intestine, where the small intestine (not seen) enters it. The function of the appendix is not clear, but it is thought to play a role in exposing white blood cells (part of the immune system) to a wide variety of antigens. A double contrast barium enema is a diagnostic technique in which a radio-opaque solution of barium salts is introduced through the anus into the intestines, which are then inflated by air. It is useful for investigating the large intestine.
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