Fluoroscopy is a safe and painless test that uses a continuous x-ray beam to create a sequence of images that are projected onto a computer monitor. This special x-ray technique makes it possible for physicians to view internal organs in motion by creating real time "x-ray movies." Still images are also captured and stored electronically on a computer. Most fluoroscopic exams require the use of a contrast material (usually barium) to better see the organs inside your body.
Fluoroscopy is used to examine a wide range of internal structures, including the intestines, stomach, lungs, bladder, reproductive system and joints. Fluoroscopy can also be used to guide a variety of interventional procedures, like arthrograms.
How does Fluoroscopy work?
During a fluoroscopy exam, physicians obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures through the use of a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope consists of an x-ray source and fluorescent plate, between which the patient is placed. When the fluoroscope is activated, x-rays pass through the patient and are gathered by the fluorescent plate. Continuous x-rays create a sequence of images which are projected onto the monitor, allowing the radiologist to see internal organs in motion.
For gastrointestinal studies, a contrast material, barium is used to coat the inside of the esophagus, stomach, colon or rectum to produce sharp, well-defined images of the anatomy being studied. Physicians can see the organs in motion as the barium passes through them.