Mimicking an x-ray, a fluoroscopy creates images of certain structures in the body. The major difference is that the fluoroscopy creates a movie that shows each body part in motion, while an x-ray is an image without motion. With x-ray beams shooting through the body and being transmitted, they allow the creation of a movie that is shown on the computer for the physician to see.
A fluoroscopy allows our radiologists to further examine all sorts of systems throughout the body. For example, a fluoroscopy can get a greater look at the reproductive system and urinary tract of a patient, their respiratory tract, as well as the digestive and skeletal system. If a patient needs certain parts of their body evaluated, a physician can look further into the patient’s bones, their muscles and even their most important organs with the help of a fluoroscopy.
Since fluoroscopies can be so helpful to physicians, they are often used for various procedures. These procedures can range from cardiac catheterization, intravenous insertions of catheters, as well as barium x-rays and other biopsies done by physicians.
A fluoroscopy can be for general diagnostic procedures, or it can go further into depth by combining with other therapeutic procedures.
During a barium x-ray, a physician will be able to see any movement taking place in the patient’s intestines by doing a fluoroscopy. For an insertion of an intravenous catheter, a physician will have further guidance as far as guiding the catheter into the right direction. As for a cardiac catheterization, a physician can actually see the blood flowing through the patients arteries. By doing a fluoroscopy for a cardiac catheterization, the physician can see if there is any blockage in the arteries.
Additional uses of a fluoroscopy include:
- Percutaneous vertebroplasty: this is a procedure that helps treat a patient’s spine fracture through minimally invasive techniques.
- Viscosupplementation injections: this procedure is done on the knee of a patient and requires a liquid substance to be injected in order for the knee to act as a cartilage replacement.
- Fluoroscopies help locate foreign bodies, as well as guide injections into a patient’s joint or spine.
How Do Physicians Perform Fluoroscopy?
A fluoroscopy is a procedure done by physicians as part of outpatient or inpatient care. Once a fluoroscopy is scheduled, a patient will know whether or not they need to take any pre-procedure actions.
Though all facilities have a certain process when it comes to getting a fluoroscopy done, each facility generally has these same protocols:
- The patient will be asked to lie on an x-ray table.
- Each patient will receive an IV prior to the examination.
- Depending on the type of procedure being done, an additional insertion may be inserted in the patient’s elbow, groin or another area of the body.
- A colored dye may be injected through intravenous line so that the physician can see what is being examined more clearly.
- An x-ray scanner will create images of the area being examined.
- Based on the type of procedure, different care will be given. For example, some procedures require very little recovery time, while others, such as cardiac catheterization, may require several hours of recovery where the catheter once was.
- The physician doing the procedure will direct each patient individually and give more specific instructions for them to follow.