Fluoroscopy may be done to evaluate certain areas of the body, including bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs such as the heart, lungs, or kidneys. You can find more information below.
Fluoroscopic scanning or fluoroscopy is a special type of x-ray imaging used to produce 2D moving images of the inside of the body using a machine called a fluoroscope . Using a low-dose x-ray beam, a near real-time image is produced that allows a radiologist to evaluate the anatomy and physiology (function) of moving structures.
The term “fluoroscopy” does not describe a particular type of examination, but it does indicate what equipment is used for a particular test.
What is fluoroscopy?
This type of scan allows a radiologist to view and evaluate almost all organs of the body, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, biliary, reproductive and vascular systems.
Because many of these organs are not easily visualized with x-rays alone, a dye called a contrast agent is often used. Barium, iodine and air are typical contrast agents.
For example, in a barium swallow procedure, the doctor may observe the anatomy and function of the esophagus and stomach after the barium swallow.
A radiologist, along with more specialized equipment, uses fluoroscopy to guide and position catheters in the veins to assess blood flow through the veins after contrast agent injection.
Mobile fluoroscopy units are also available to assist with procedures in operating rooms.
What happens in the fluoroscopy procedure?
This screening procedure can be used for diagnostic purposes or as an adjunct to more complex therapeutic medical procedures. Your doctor or radiologist will provide you with more detailed information and instructions before the day of the procedure.
The following steps are common to most fluoroscopy procedures:
- The patient will be placed on a table under the fluoroscope.
- The table can be tilted for the patient to stand.
- This device is carried on the examined structures in the patient’s body.
- A dye is swallowed or injected to visualize the structures.
- A catheter or tube may need to be inserted.
- Sedation or local anesthetic may be required if the procedure is likely to be uncomfortable or painful.
How long does the fluoroscopy procedure take?
The length of procedures can vary greatly due to the wide variety and variety of fluoroscopic procedures available.
For example, a barium swallow may take only 10 minutes, while examining the vascular or biliary systems may take several hours. When making your appointment, you will be given an estimate of how long the procedure will take.
What are the benefits of fluoroscopy?
This type of scan provides a seemingly live view of the insides of the body, rather than just still images.
This means that doctors can monitor and examine how organs and blood vessels are working, allowing for accurate placement of catheters, wires and needles for a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
What are the risks?
These procedures use a type of radiation X-ray, which at high doses can increase the risk of cancer and local damage to the skin.
However, a low-dose x-ray is used during these procedures and every effort is made to reduce the total radiation dose to the patient and keep levels below an acceptable limit.
In complex and lengthy procedures, high radiation doses are only acceptable if the overall benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risks.
These procedures are generally restricted to patients with a pregnancy condition, as X-rays can harm an unborn fetus.
Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast medium used, but these are usually minor and can be treated immediately with medication.
In most such procedures, normal activities can be resumed immediately. However, for some procedures, you may be asked to reduce physical activity or change the diet for a while, or seek help with returning home after the procedure.
Some procedures require hospitalization or waiting for recovery in the nurse’s observation, radiology department. These conditions will be communicated to you at the time of booking the inspection.