Diagnostic Imaging

If more information is needed about how things flow through your body or how your body moves than an X-ray can provide, your doctor may order a "fluoroscopy." Using a combination of X-ray and computer technology, a fluoroscopy shows a continuous X-ray image or series of pictures on a monitor— like a movie! It allows your physician to see the path of things flowing through your system and the details of how your body moves.

Common uses

Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures including:

  • Views of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Guidance and placement of a catheter during an angioplasty or angiography
  • Study of blood flow and circulation
  • Views of joints in preparation for orthopedic surgery, also called arthrography

What to expect when you have a fluoroscopy

What you experience will depend on how the fluoroscopy is used and what doctors want to see but here are some basic things to expect:

  • You'll have an IV line inserted into your hand or arm.
  • If you are having a catheter inserted such as occurs with a cardiac catheterization or catheter placement, you may receive one additional IV in the groin or elbow.
  • A "contrast substance" similar to a dye may be injected into your IV. This will allow doctors to see the dye as it travels through the area of your system being examined.
  • As you are lying on an X-ray table, a scanner will take pictures and produce fluoroscopic images of the area being examined. Your doctor will be able to see these images on a computer monitor.

After the test

Your doctor will talk with you about what to expect after the test is complete. It differs in each patient depending on the type of fluoroscopy test conducted.