Fluoroscopy: Procedure and Preparation

Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique used to view the internal organs of the body in real time. The fluoroscope provides a live "x-ray" image of an organ or other objects inside the body, allowing the doctor to detect any abnormalities. It is especially useful for diagnosing and treating various medical conditions such as digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

In preparation for the procedure, the patient should be asked to remove all metal objects and jewelry as these can interfere with the images produced by the fluoroscope. The patient is also covered with a protective radiation apron or shield to minimize any radiation exposure during the procedure. The patient may also be required to take a contrast medium prior to the procedure to enhance the images produced.

How Fluoroscopy is Performed?

During the procedure, the patient is placed under the fluoroscope and the technology produces x-ray images that are shown continuously on a monitor. Different types of fluoroscopy can be used depending on the type of organ being examined. Some common forms include gastrointestinal (GI) fluoroscopy, which is used to examine the gastrointestinal tract; cardiac fluoroscopy, which is used to assess the heart; and urological fluoroscopy, which is used to examine the urinary system.

The x-ray images produced by the fluoroscope are interpreted by a radiologist or other doctor in order to make the necessary diagnosis or treatment. Fluoroscopy can be used to assess a variety of medical conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, pulmonary disorders, and musculoskeletal problems. It may also be used to perform minimally invasive procedures such as arthroscopy and endoscopy.

Types of Fluoroscopy

  • Conventional Fluoroscopy – This is the most common form of fluoroscopy and involves the use of x-ray radiation which is detected on an image receptor.
  • Portable Fluoroscopy – This type of fluoroscopy is used in the operating room to provide a live view of the inside of the body during surgery. It is similar to conventional fluoroscopy but uses a smaller x-ray generator.
  • Digital Fluoroscopy – This type of fluoroscopy involves the use of computer technology to convert the x-ray images into digital images which are then displayed on a computer screen.
  • Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT) – This type of fluoroscopy uses a focused x-ray beam and a special detector to produce three-dimensional images.

When and Why is Fluoroscopy Used?

Fluoroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. It is often used to help the doctor visualize the internal organs of the body and assess the severity of any medical condition.

Fluoroscopy can also be used to evaluate the results of a medical procedure such as surgery or a biopsy. It is often used in conjunction with other imaging tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Risks of Fluoroscopy

The radiation used in fluoroscopy can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers, especially when used for long or extended periods of time. There is also a risk of radiation injury to the skin or other organs if the patient is not properly shielded during the procedure. Other rare risks associated with fluoroscopy include radiation burns and allergic reactions to the contrast medium.

In order to minimize the risks of radiation exposure during the procedure, the patient and doctor should be aware of the amount of radiation exposure the patient is receiving and ensure that the patient is appropriately shielded. Additionally, the patient should be monitored for any signs of radiation injury and any complications should be reported to the doctor immediately.