Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures--similar to an X-ray "movie." A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, enables physicians to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Fluoroscopy may be performed to evaluate specific areas of the body, including the bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs such as the heart, lung, or kidneys.
Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures, such as barium X-rays, cardiac catheterization, arthrography (visualization of a joint or joints), lumbar puncture, placement of intravenous (IV) catheters (hollow tubes inserted into veins or arteries), intravenous pyelogram, hysterosalpingogram, and biopsies.
Fluoroscopy may be used alone as a diagnostic procedure, or may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic or therapeutic media or procedures.
In barium X-rays, fluoroscopy used alone allows the physician to see the movement of the intestines as the barium moves through them. In cardiac catheterization, fluoroscopy is added to enable the doctor to see the flow of blood through the coronary arteries in order to evaluate the presence of arterial blockages. For intravenous catheter insertion, fluoroscopy assists the physician in guiding the catheter into a specific location inside the body.
Other uses of fluoroscopy include, but are not limited to, the following:
Fluoroscopy may be part of an examination or procedure that is done on either an outpatient or inpatient basis. The specific type of procedure or examination being done will determine whether any preparation prior to the procedure is required. Your doctor should notify you of any preprocedure instructions.
Although each facility may have specific protocols in place and specific examinations and procedures may differ, fluoroscopy procedures generally follow this process:
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