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Fluoroscopy Services at Palomar Health

What is a Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a real-time form of video x-ray that enables the radiologist to visualize an organ or area of concern on a TV monitor. With the aid of a contrast agent, an image can be viewed clearly on a television monitor or screen. Contrast agents (or "contrast media") may be introduced into the body through injection, ingestion or enema.

Common uses of this procedure.

Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures such as gastrointestinal studies and catheterizations. When a contrast agent, such as barium, is introduced the physician can see structures and/or lining of the intestines as the barium passes through.

How does it work?

Fluoroscopy involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce an image of the internal organ under examination. When x-rays penetrate the body, they are absorbed in varying amounts by different parts of the anatomy. Bones will absorb more radiation than tissue so they will appear white or light gray on the projected image. Soft tissue such as the liver or lungs will appear darker because it absorbs less radiation.

What should I expect?

Depending on the study your physician has ordered, you will most likely be positioned on a table while a preliminary film of the area under examination is obtained. You will be asked a series of questions related to allergic reactions and/or prior sensitivity to contrast materials. The entire procedure will be explained to you by the radiologic technologist. Because contrast agents may be used, which may cause an allergic reaction in some people, be sure to tell the technologist, nurse or radiologist if you have had an allergic reaction to these agents in the past or if you have any other allergies.

Patient Preparation

You will be asked to change into a gown for most fluoroscopy procedures. Metal objects can affect the image, so avoid clothing with zippers and snaps. You may be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any removable dental work. You may also be asked to refrain form eating or drinking (water only) for up to 6 to 12 hours before the exam. Women should always inform their doctor or the X-Ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Exam Results

Your exam will be read and a report will be phoned, faxed or mailed to your physician promptly. He/she will share the results with you.