Fluoroscopy is a way of studying moving body structures with a view similar to an X-Ray. Using a continuous X-Ray beam, a physician can examine a part of the body in present time. Using a fluoroscope, the X-Ray beam is transmitted to a monitor that the physician can watch to view parts of body systems such as respiratory, skeletal, and the digestive system.
The main reason to perform a Fluoroscopy is to assist the physician with an exam or procedure. These exams and procedures include but are not limited to: barium X-Rays, cardiac catheterization, arthrography, lumbar puncture, and biopsies.
Depending on the reason for the fluoroscopy, patients’ experiences may be different. Fluoroscopy may be performed outpatient or in addition to a stay at the hospital. The patient’s conditions and doctors’ protocols will determine the process.
In general cases, the fluoroscopy process is the following:
Fluoroscopy itself is not painful but depending on the procedure performed, the patient may feel pain or uncomfortable sensations.
The main risk associated with fluoroscopy comes from the use of radiation during the procedure. A patients particular situation may increase the risk of being exposed to radiation. It is important for the patient to make the physician performing the procedure aware of any prior exams that included the use of radiation in addition to if the patient is pregnant or suspects that they may be pregnant. Risks may also increase from cumulative exposure to radiation.
If contrast is used for the procedure, there is a risk of allergic reaction. Patients should make their physician aware of any allergies they have including medications, contrast, iodine, or latex. Patients should also make their physician aware of any kidney issues they may have.