Fluoroscopy is a special form of X-ray. Using fluoroscopy, X-ray images can be viewed like an X-ray movie, and the radiologist can see internal organs like the colon in motion. Fluoroscopy also helps the radiologist understand how some organs like the stomach empty the food you eat and determine if the stomach is working well.
Radiologists and radiologic technologists are specially trained to use the minimum amount of X-rays needed to produce a diagnostic image. These experts understand how to image both adults and children safely.
How to Prepare and the Exam:
Depending on the exam ordered by your physician, you may be instructed to not eat or drink anything for several hours before your procedure. You may be given a special set of instructions on how to prepare for your exam by your physician. Certain exams will require you to have your blood drawn before the exam is done.
You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear radiology attire during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
Depending on the area of interest, you may be placed on the X-ray table or the exam may be done standing. Various X-rays may be taken at different angles to best visualize the area. The duration of the exam may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
After the Procedure:
When the examination is complete, you may be asked to dress and wait while the images are reviewed. Depending on the exam type, you may be asked to drink plenty of fluids to flush the barium or contrast out of your system. If you had barium, your stools may appear white, as your body clears the barium from your system.
A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring doctor. You will receive your results from the doctor who ordered the test.
Call Your Doctor:
For Barium Studies: If you do not have a bowel movement for more than 2 days after your exam, or you cannot pass gas through your rectum.
For Contrast Studies, complications are rare. If you were given contrast, call your doctor if any of the following occurs after the exam:
- Swollen, itchy eyes or lips
- Tightness of the throat
- Difficulty breathing
Types of Fluoroscopy Exams
- Barium Enema
- Barium Swallow or Esophagram
- Video Esophagram or Modified Swallow
- Epidural and Facet Injections
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
- Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)
- Lumbar Puncture
- Small Bowel Series
- Sniff Test (Chest Fluoroscopy)
- Upper GI series
- Voiding Cystogram or Retrograde Cystogram