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How to interpret a functional or motility test - colon transit study.

Measurement of colon transit time is the most basic and primary tool in evaluating disorders of colonic motility. In particular, it is helpful in pathologic diagnosis and for planning management in patients with constipation. Several techniques for measuring colon transit time currently exist. The standard measurement of colon transit time has been performed using radioopaque marker test. The radioopaque marker test is the most widely used method; it is simple to perform as well as being cost effective. But, this technique produces radiation exposure. Radionuclide scintigraphy and wireless motility capsules are other techniques used to measure colon transit time. In radionuclide scintigraphy, the transit of radioisotope is viewed by gamma camera; this approach has an advantage in that it uses minimal radiation and it allows a physiological assessment of gastrointestinal transit. Wireless motility capsules have been validated most recently, but this technique is not useful in Korea. This review presents the techniques used to measure colon transit time and the interpretations provided in different colon transit studies.

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