What is fluoroscopy?
Doctors and radiologists can view many systems of the body using fluoroscopy:
Fluoroscopy can be used alone or in conjunction with other imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to perform a wide variety of diagnostic examinations and procedures. Below are its few common uses:
What are the types of fluoroscopy?
Below are common types of fluoroscopy:
- Upper gastrointestinal tract (GI) radiography: It produces images of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and proximal small intestine with a barium-based contrast material. It is used to diagnose ulcers, foreign bodies in the gut, etc. When the upper GI tract is coated with the barium-based contrast (which is given to the patient as a drink), the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (proximal small intestine).
- Lower GI radiography or barium enema: It produces images of the inner lining of the large intestine to detect ulcerations, cancerous growths, and foreign bodies.
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG): It uses fluoroscopy to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes of a woman who is having difficulty becoming pregnant. It’s also used to investigate miscarriages resulting from abnormalities within the uterus and to determine the presence and severity of adhesions or uterine fibroids tumor masses, adhesions, and uterine fibroids. A contrast material is administered through a catheter.
What happens during a fluoroscopy procedure?
Fluoroscopy is a term that basically means live X-ray pictures. It is a type of imaging exam that is similar to an X-ray but has the benefit of offering a “live” look inside the body.
- These procedures generally take 45-60 minutes.
- After changing into a hospital gown, the patient lies on a bed-like table that can be positioned horizontally or vertically.
- X-rays are taken while the patient stays very still.
- Prior to the exam, the physician may give contrast materials. If the patient has an allergy to contrast materials such as barium, they should inform the doctor or the technologist before their exam.
- Imaging technicians generally perform fluoroscopies. A board-certified radiologist will interpret the results and send a report to the physician in a timely fashion.
How does fluoroscopy work?
Fluoroscopy uses X-rays that are a form of radiation. X-rays pass through some objects such as clothes, the skin, the blood, and the body tissues but not through the bones. Hence, the bones and other structures can cast shadows over the X-ray that can be studied..
Fluoroscopy uses continuous or pulsed X-ray beam to create a sequence of images that are projected onto a fluorescent screen or television-like monitor. When used with an oral contrast material, which clearly defines the area being examined by making it appear bright, this special X-ray technique makes it possible for the physician to view internal organs in motion. Still images are also captured and stored either on film or electronically.
What are the benefits and risks of a fluoroscopy exam?
Fluoroscopy exams are safe, easy, and generally painless. The main risk of fluoroscopy is its use of ionization radiation to create images; the amount of radiation required varies depending upon the exam. Some imaging-guided interventional procedures using fluoroscopy can use significantly more ionization radiation than an X-ray alone, which at higher levels may have detrimental effects on your health.
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