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Normal x-ray results can take days or even weeks to develop. Fluoroscopy is a procedure wherein physicians perform a live x-ray examination of your internal body parts. This is useful for locating foreign bodies, assessing your internal organs, and is often performed alongside minimal surgeries.

How Does It Work?

Fluoroscopy is simple, painless, and non-invasive. The device, the fluoroscope, is an imaging device designed to produce x-ray results in real-time by subjecting your body to a continuous x-ray beam. A contrast dye such as barium is often administered by physicians, allowing them to study moving body structures in your skeletal, respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, urinary, and digestive systems.

Think of fluoroscopy as a tool imaging specialists use to perform other diagnostic studies and tests. The most common fluoroscopic studies include:

  • Barium x-rays: study of the intestines
  • Esophagram: study of the esophagus
  • Arthrography: study of joints
  • Hysterosalpingogram: study of the uterus

Do I Need A Fluoroscopy?

Doctors will usually advise the use a fluoroscopy to diagnose a disease or guide a treatment.
Locating foreign bodies, successfully guiding injections to the joints and spine, and performing biopsies are among the common uses for a fluoroscopy.

Anyone from a cardiologist to a urologist can require a fluoroscopy. If you suspect joint conditions, coronary artery disease, infertility, kidney abnormalities, cancer, and bladder problems, a fluoroscopy will likely be performed to discover the underlying reason for these complications.

If you are expected to undergo this procedure, know that a test typically runs for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the other exams or surgeries performed alongside a fluoroscopy. When done alone, the test is painless and comfortable. However, slight discomfort should be expected when done alongside other procedures such as a spinal tap or myelogram. As is the case with most surgeries, anesthesia or sedatives will be administered to help minimize discomfort.

The Advantages of Fluoroscopy

Standard tests sometimes fail to reflect further complications in the body, especially those that have to do with blockage. As such, doctors use fluoroscopy to make sure that your body allows natural movement of liquids and other bodily material, and is working optimally.

Expect minor, harmless exposure to radiation. As with any imaging procedure, it’s wise to keep track of your history of radiation exposure so that your doctor can make an informed decision regarding successive exposure to x-rays. Pregnant and expectant women should notify their doctors to prevent the consequences of radiation exposure.

During the procedure, you will be asked to assume different positions and move various body parts depending on the study being conducted. A contrast substance may be given through swallowing, an injection, or enema. This allows doctors to more accurately visualize and assess specific organs and systems in your body.

After a fluoroscopy, you can rest easy knowing that your doctor has a clearer understanding of what you need. It is a multi-functional device that speeds up treatment by accurately identifying problem areas in your body in real-time.

FAQ and the Experience: Everything You Need To Know

Is the procedure painful?

When done alone, a fluoroscopy poses no risk of injury or complication. However, it is commonly conducted alongside other tests and procedures, which can cause some pain to the patient. As is common routine, physicians and specialists will administer sedatives and local anesthesia to dull or completely eliminate the pain.

Do I need to make preparations before undergoing a fluoroscopy?

Preparations depend on the kind of study being performed. You may be asked to perform allergy tests to make sure that medications and dyes used during the procedure don’t aggravate an existing condition.

You may also be asked to fast before a fluoroscopy to allow doctors to properly visualize the movement of dyes in your body. Note that recent x-ray procedures such as a barium x-ray might interfere with the accuracy of this procedure. As such, make note of previous imaging appointments to get the most out of your fluoroscopy.

Is it safe to undergo a fluoroscopy?

Yes. It is safe and FDA-approved. This imaging procedure is performed by professionals and imaging specialists all over the world and is considered one of the most informative ways to guide health care treatments. Medical examiners will always put your best interests at heart and ensure that you are safe and comfortable during your examination.

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