Health Care

Fluoroscopy 101: What It Is, How It Works and What To Expect

A Doctor, in Full Scrubs and Face Mask, Looks Over His Patient's Scans

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Your doctor just recommended you get fluoroscopy to get a better picture of what’s going on inside your body. Now what? You may be wondering what this procedure is, what you should expect and how you can be prepared. Don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through everything you need to know about fluoroscopy.

What Is a Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is an imaging test that allows doctors to see what is happening within your body. Specifically, it provides a “moving” image of entire body systems, like your digestive or skeletal system, allowing your body to be seen in real-time. Fluoroscopy can highlight any abnormalities or issues within your system, like blood clots or blockages in your digestive tract.

How Does a Fluoroscopy Work?

The image is taken using a fluoroscope, a fluorescent screen and an X-ray beam that passes through your body. Sometimes, you may need to take a special dye, like barium, either by swallowing or an IV, that highlights any issues in greater detail.

What Are Fluoroscopies Used For?

Fluoroscopy allows doctors to see what is happening in your body without invasive surgical procedures. A doctor can use fluoroscopy for any of the following reasons:

  • During urology surgery, see your urinary tract and sex organs
  • In orthopedic surgeries to see your musculoskeletal system conditions
  • For catheter insertions
  • To visualize the flow of blood to organs in a blood flow study
  • When conducting an angiography — a moving X-ray of your lymph or blood vessels, including heart, leg and cerebral vessels
  • When implanting a pacemaker
  • When performing enemas

What Should I Expect When I Go Get a Fluoroscopy?

When your doctor refers you to get fluoroscopy, you may have it done outpatient at an imaging center, or you may need to stay in a hospital. This depends on the type of fluoroscopy needed, your condition and your doctor’s recommendation.

While it may seem frightening to get fluoroscopy, we want to help you understand what to expect so you can be at rest that you will be in safe, compassionate hands. When you first arrive, you may be asked to remove any jewelry or clothing that could get in the way of examining your body. Don’t worry; we’ll provide scrubs or a hospital gown to wear.

Next, your doctor may give you a contrast dye or substance, depending on your procedure. This may be administered via an intravenous (IV) line or have you swallow it. This is to help doctors get a better look at your organs.

You’ll then be walked over to an X-ray table. You may be asked to lie down in a specific position or even move throughout the procedure.

The doctor or technician will then use a special X-ray scanner to produce fluoroscopic images of the body system they are analyzing. The length of the procedure depends on the system being examined and the type of procedure.

After completion of the procedure, you will have the IV line removed. With most procedures, there is a very short recovery time. However, other procedures, like cardiac catheterization, may take several hours to recover.

Our doctors and technician will be with you every step of the way. Should you have any questions, we’re always ready to answer them and clarify anything that may be concerning you.

How Can You Prepare for a Fluoroscopy?

Now that you know more about the procedure you’re having done and what to expect, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to prepare beforehand. Here are some simple things you can do to make your procedure as simple as possible:

  • Inform the technician of any allergies
  • Let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding
  • Make sure your doctor has a list of all your medications
  • Prepare questions you may have to ask beforehand
  • Review pre-procedure instructions
  • Sign a consent form

Compassionate Care Close to Home

If you or a loved one needs fluoroscopy, we’re ready to help you with the compassionate care you can count on. And once we get a clear and accurate picture of what's going on inside, we can begin to provide the healing you need to feel whole again. Click here to learn more about our imaging services.

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