Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures. It’s much like an X-ray "movie" and is often done while a contrast dye moves through the part of the body being examined. A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part and sent to a video monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, allows healthcare providers to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
Fluoroscopy may be used to evaluate specific areas of the body. These include the bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs, such as the heart, lung, or kidneys.
Fluoroscopy is used in many types of exams and procedures including:
Fluoroscopy is also used for:
Fluoroscopy may be used alone, or may be used along with other diagnostic procedures.
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend fluoroscopy.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the procedure and the risks related to your particular situation. It is a good idea to keep a record of your radiation exposure, such as previous CT scans and other types of X-rays, so that you can inform your healthcare provider. Risks associated with radiation exposure may be related to the cumulative number of X-ray exam and/or treatments over a long period.
If you are pregnant or think you may be, tell your healthcare provider. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
If contrast dye is used, there is a risk for allergic reaction to the dye. Tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to or sensitive to medicines, contrast media, iodine, or latex. Also, tell your healthcare provider if you have kidney failure or other kidney problems.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be certain your healthcare provider knows about all of your medical conditions.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with the accuracy of a fluoroscopy procedure. For instance, a recent barium X-ray procedure may interfere with exposure of the stomach or lower back area. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about your medical history and any recent tests or treatments you have had.
Fluoroscopy may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, fluoroscopy follows this process:
While fluoroscopy itself is not painful, the particular procedure being done may be painful, such as the injection into a joint or accessing of an artery or vein for angiography. In these cases, the radiologist will take all comfort measures possible, which could include local anesthesia (numbing drugs), conscious sedation (medicines to make you sleepy), or general anesthesia (medicines to put you into a deep sleep and not feel pain), depending on the particular procedure.
The type of care needed after the procedure will depend on the type of fluoroscopy that is done. Certain procedures, such as cardiac catheterization, will require a recovery period of several hours with immobilization of the leg or arm where the catheter was inserted. Other procedures may need less time for recovery.
If you notice any pain, redness, and/or swelling at the IV site after you go home, you should tell your healthcare provider as this may be a sign of infection or other type of reaction.
Your healthcare provider will give more specific instructions related to your care after the procedure.
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