Fluoroscopy is a valuable imaging modality that allows doctors to provide early diagnosis of many illnesses. Identifying any illness in its early stage is crucial to have a higher chance of recovery and to prevent serious health complications.
In this article, we will cover the importance of Fluoroscopy and what you can expect during this procedure.
What is Fluoroscopy?
Fluoroscopy is a technique that uses x-rays to create real-time images of internal organs. These continuously real-time images allow doctors to monitor the anatomy, movement, and function of internal organs and other body structures.
When is Fluoroscopy Necessary?
Because of the radiation emitted from x-rays, fluoroscopy should only be done if necessary. Some instances when fluoroscopy may be necessary are:
- To diagnose the cause of issues with the gastrointestinal tract. Including pain or difficulty with swallowing, vomit, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.
- To evaluate the urinary system.
- To evaluate the female reproductive system (uterus and fallopian tubes).
- To identify fistulas (abnormal connections between organs and other tissues).
Fluoroscopy Procedure: What to Expect
Follow your doctor’s indications to prepare your body for the fluoroscopy procedure. Make sure to ask any questions or concerns you may have before having the procedure done. Here is how fluoroscopy works:
- Depending on the organs that will be evaluated during fluoroscopy, a “contrast dye” — prescribed by your doctor — may be administered orally, intravenously, or through an enema. It is important to let your doctor know if you are pregnant or have had an allergic reaction to contrast dyes.
- Put on a medical gown and remove any metal objects or accessories.
- Position yourself on the x-ray table as the radiology technologist indicates you to. You may be required to change positions or hold your breath during the process.
- Wait until the series of images, produced by the x-ray machine, are ready.
Fluoroscopy is a painless and non-invasive procedure which offers benefits like:
- The real-time view of your organs, bones, and other tissues helps doctors to provide an accurate diagnosis of diseases or injuries.
- Help doctors to evaluate internal damage to determine which treatment — invasive (surgeries) or non-invasive — is the best option.
- The images serve as guidance for surgical procedures. For example, the removal of tumors.
Risks of Fluoroscopy
Although fluoroscopy is a non-invasive procedure, it does involve minor risks like:
- Radiation. The exposure to ionizing radiation is higher with fluoroscopy than with plain radiography.
- Allergic Reactions. Some patients may be allergic to IV contrast agents administered for fluoroscopy.
- Medical Condition. IV contrast agents should not be given to people with illnesses like heart failure, renal insufficiency, severe dehydration, diabetes, among others. Without the contrast agent, the quality of the images of certain organs may not be the best.
Alternatives to Reduce or Avoid Radiation
Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to radiation. If possible, we recommend the taking the following measures:
- Instead of fluoroscopy, see if it is possible to try a non-radiation procedure, like an ultrasound or MRI.
- For children, the imaging techniques require less radiation than for adults, make sure the equipment matches their needs.
- Use protective lead in body areas that will not be evaluated.
- Let your doctor know if you have had any recent x-ray scans that may provide useful information that could help to avoid fluoroscopy.
BASS Urgent Care counts with experienced healthcare professionals that can advise whether fluoroscopy is a suitable procedure for you. Contact us today to know more about our on-site x-ray scans!