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December 19, 1953


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, the University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1953;153(16):1417-1421. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940330001001

The x-ray examination of the colon dates back to the previous century and to the earliest days of radiology, but it did not become a major clinical tool until the enema with opaque material displaced the oral administration of bismuth in 1911.1 Barium sulfate supplanted bismuth salts a few years later. In this examination, as in so many others, the competence and diligence of the examiner are vastly more important than the precise nature of the techniques he employs, and a simple mixture of barium and water poured through a glass funnel under the supervision of a Harry Weber2 is superior to a homogenized gum suspension introduced through a four-way valve by a novice, particularly if that novice is bored and overworked. But, while it is true that a master craftsman using the simplest tools can do superlative work, it is true also that even the expert's output