Fluoroscopy is an imaging procedure that uses X-ray beams to generate accurate, real-time images of internal organs and bodily tissue. Fluoroscopy is highly effective for both diagnostics and guidance procedures because the X-rays generate real-time video, rather than static images.
There are several reasons why a doctor might order a fluoroscopy treatment. The procedure is highly useful in a number of different contexts, and is also fairly safe and painless. However, the specific experience of a fluoroscopy procedure can vary depending on what other medical procedures, if any, are involved.
What to Expect During Fluoroscopy Procedure
Most fluoroscopy procedures are performed on their own in outpatient clinics. However, some patients may undergo fluoroscopy as part of their stay in the hospital. In these cases, patients may also undergo surgery during or shortly after fluoroscopy. In these cases, a general anesthetic may be administered so that the patient is not awake during surgery.
However, in most cases, the fluoroscopy exam is simple and painless. The only risk associated with fluoroscopy is the potential for radiation exposure from X-rays. However, properly-conducted fluoroscopy procedures involve minimal radiation exposure and are completely safe. With that said, individuals who are pregnant or may be pregnant should avoid fluoroscopy procedures.
During a fluoroscopy procedure, the patient simply needs to lie on an X-ray table while a technician performs an X-ray scan. In some cases, a contrast dye may be used to help create better visuals in the X-ray. Other procedures may require the insertion of a catheter using a needle. Other than these possibilities, fluoroscopy is totally non-invasive and is not painful.
What is Fluoroscopy Used For?
Now that you know what fluoroscopy is, you may be asking, “What is fluoroscopy used for?” This question has a lot of different answers. Here are a few of the most common reasons why a fluoroscopy exam might be ordered.
One of the most common uses for a fluoroscopy procedure is to examine and diagnose problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Fluoroscopy imaging can provide clear and detailed diagnostic information for a variety of gastrointestinal complications. These include ulcers, cancers, bleeding, leaks in the gastrointestinal system, and much more.
It is common for patients experiencing unexplained abdominal pain or discomfort to undergo a fluoroscopy test early in their treatment. The procedure is often the most effective, and simplest, way to examine a patient’s organs.
Similar to gastrointestinal visualization, fluoroscopy is often the simplest method of joint visualization. Doctors will often use fluoroscopy to examine the structure and health of a joint (elbows, knees, shoulders, etc.) and diagnose injuries or complications.
A fluoroscopy exam can also be used to check blood flow in the body. Fluoroscopy procedures can detect blockages in blood vessels and arteries in patients who may be experiencing circulation problems. The video X-ray used in fluoroscopy provides accurate, active images of blood flow in the body. This makes it much easier to locate and measure the severity of blood flow complications.
Fluoroscopy procedures are not always used to test for or diagnose health problems. In some cases, they are also used to guide certain treatment procedures.
For example, sclerotherapy is a common treatment for varicose veins that involves injecting a solution into the affected area. Then, the damaged veins close off and become scars. In most cases, doctors will use fluoroscopy to guide the injection and watch to ensure a successful procedure. Again, fluoroscopy is the most effective way to receive an accurate, real-time image in interventional procedures like sclerotherapy.
To learn more about BASS Medical’s diagnostic imaging services, contact any of our BASS Imaging Center locations.