Healthcare Services and Programs

What is fluoroscopy?
A form of diagnostic radiology that allows moving body structures to be examined via X-ray through the use of a fluoroscope and a contrast agent. The image is viewed on a monitor as a kind of moving X-ray.

What are the types of fluoroscopic tests?
Fluoroscopic exams include the following types of tests: barium swallow, upper GI series, small bowel series, barium enema, hystersalpingogram, intravenous pyelogram, voiding cystourethregram, myleogram, arthrogram, biopsy, lumbar punctures and facet injections.

How often should you have a fluoroscopic test?
As directed by your physician.

How do you prepare for it?
Preparation varies depending on the type of test. The contrast agent - which allows the image to be viewed when X-rayed - will be introduced into the body via swallowing, injection or an enema. Your doctor will give you specific instructions prior to your procedure.

What happens during the procedure?
Although the specifics vary depending on the type of fluoroscopic test you undergo, in general you will be asked to lie or stand between the X-ray machine and a fluorescent screen after putting on a hospital gown. An intravenous line may be started in your arm or a catheter may be inserted. An X-ray scanner produces fluoroscopic images of the body part being examined. The procedure itself is generally painless.

What happens after the procedure?
Post-exam care depends on the type of procedure. Although most procedures require short recovery periods, in some cases you may have to remain in recovery for a few hours. If you have ingested barium, drink more water than usual in order to avoid constipation.

What are the benefits of fluoroscopy?
Unlike an X-ray, which shows a detailed yet static image, fluoroscopy allows a physician to see a live image of the body's internal organs in order to observe their size, shape and movement.

What are the risks of fluoroscopy?
Although radiation is minimal, there is the chance of skin injury due to radiation exposure, as well as the usual risks associated with radiation.