Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures--similar to an X-ray. A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined. The beam is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, enables physicians to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Fluoroscopy may be performed to evaluate specific areas of the body, including the bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs, such as the heart, lung, or kidneys. Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose problems of the bones, muscles, or joints include X-rays, myelography ( myelogram ), computed tomography ( CT scan ), magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ), and arthrography.
Reasons for a fluoroscopy
Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures, such as barium X-rays , cardiac catheterization , arthrography (visualization of a joint or joints), lumbar puncture , placement of intravenous (IV) catheters (hollow tubes inserted into veins or arteries), intravenous pyelogram , hysterosalpingogram, and biopsies. Fluoroscopy may be used alone as a diagnostic procedure, or may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic or therapeutic media or procedures. In barium X-rays , fluoroscopy used alone allows the doctor to see the movement of the intestines as the barium moves through them and allows the doctor to position the patient for spot imaging. In cardiac catheterization , fluoroscopy is used as an adjunct to enable the doctor to see the flow of blood through the coronary arteries in order to evaluate the presence of arterial blockages. For intravenous catheter insertion, fluoroscopy assists the doctor in guiding the catheter into a specific location inside the body.
Risks of fluoroscopy
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your doctor. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
If contrast dye is used, there is a risk for allergic reaction to the dye.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with the accuracy of a fluoroscopy procedure. A recent barium X-ray procedure may interfere with exposure of the abdominal or lower back area.
Preparation of fluoroscopic exam
PRECAUTIONS: If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please check with your doctor before scheduling the exam. Other options will be discussed with you and your doctor.
CLOTHING: You may be asked to change into a patient gown. A gown will be provided for you. Lockers are provided to secure your personal belongings. Please remove all piercings and leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
EAT/DRINK: Specific instructions will be provided based on the examination you are scheduled for.
ALLERGIES: Notify the radiologist or technologist if you are allergic or sensitive to medications, contrast dyes or iodine.
Examinations in fluoroscopy
Exams that might include the use of fluoroscopy as part of the procedure include:
- Barium enema
- Barium swallow
- Lumbar puncture
- Interventional radiology procedures
- Interventional neuroradiology procedures
- Upper gastrointestinal series
- Small bowel series