Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient through the use of a fluoroscope. Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. In its simplest form, a fluoroscope consists of an X-ray source and fluorescent screen between which a patient is placed.
Types of fluorscopy:
- An Arthrogram is a procedure using fluoroscopy to obtain a series of images of a joint after a contrast agent has been injected into the joint. This allows the radiologist to see the soft tissue structures of your joint, such as tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage and your joint capsule. An arthrogram is used to check a joint to find out what is causing your symptoms or problem. An arthrogram may be more useful than a regular X-ray because it shows the surface of soft tissues lining the joint as well as the joint bones. This procedure can be performed on your hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist or jaw.
Other imaging modalities, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) provide different information about a joint. They may be used with an arthrogram or when an arthrogram does not give a clear image of the joint.
- A Myelogram, also known as myelography, is a diagnostic imaging procedure performed by a radiologist. It combines the use of a contrast agent with fluoroscopy or computed tomography (CT) to evaluate abnormalities of the spinal canal, including the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, spinal cord, nerve roots and other tissues. The contrast agent is injected into the spinal canal before the procedure. This contrast agent enhances the tissue being examined. After the contrast agent is injected, it allows the radiologist to view the spinal cord, subarachnoid space and other surrounding structures more clearly than with standard X-rays of the spine. The radiologist will also use a CT scan when performing a myelogram. A CT scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure using a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. These images, called slices, show detailed images of the spinal canal. CT scans provide more detail than standard X-rays.
- Gastrointestinal Fluoroscopic Exams
An Upper Gastrointestinal tract exam, also called an upper GI, is a fluoroscopic exam of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (also known as the duodenum) that uses fluoroscopy and a barium contrast agent. When the gastrointestinal tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and the duodenum.
An Air-Contrast or Double-Contrast Upper GI is an exam that includes drinking both barium and effervescent crystals to further improve the images of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine.
A Barium Swallow is a fluoroscopic exam that evaluates only the pharynx and esophagus. A Lower GI or Barium Enema (BE) exam, also called a lower GI, is a fluoroscopic examination of the large intestine, also known as the colon. This includes the right or ascending colon, the transverse colon, the left or descending colon, and the rectum. The appendix and a portion of the small intestine may also be visualized. When the lower gastrointestinal tract is filled with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy of the rectum, colon and part of the lower small intestine.
Preparation for fluoroscopic examinations requires an appointment, as well as a written order from your physician. If you are pregnant or nursing, you must notify your technologist. Depending on the area of your body being examined, you may need to change into a gown upon arrival. In addition, you will be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any other objects that could obscure the images. Many fluoroscopic procedures require specific preparation prior to the procedure. Scheduling personnel will provide you with special diet and procedure preparations when making the appointment.