Fluoroscopy

If you’ve never had an Fluoroscopy Exam, you may be a little nervous. But there is no need to be afraid, as the Fluoroscopy procedure is typically a non-invasive and painless procedure. Knowing what to expect during your exam will help you to be prepared and feel at ease.

What is a Fluoroscopy Exam?

A Fluoroscopy Exam is an imaging procedure that is similar to an X-Ray. In fact, if you’ve seen the old Looney Tunes bits where Bugs or Elmer ends up behind a screen looking like a moving skeleton, then that’s a good place to begin. While the idea of a standing x-ray screen is inaccurate, a Fluoroscopy Exam uses continuous X-Rays to provide moving images of the body’s inner workings. Fluoroscopies are helpful imaging tools for viewing several systems, including skeletal, digestive, reproductive, and respiratory.

Before Your Exam

You may be asked to fast before the exam. Our staff will notify you of any such requirements at the time your appointment is scheduled..

Please disclose any history of allergic reactions if a contrast is being used.

Women are asked to please disclose any pregnancy or potential pregnancy. Your doctor may choose to pursue a different exam type or take other precautions to protect the fetus.

Unless the target of the exam is peripheral (hand, arm, foot), then you will very likely be asked to change into a gown.

If there are any other requests or requirements, you will be informed at the time that you schedule your appointment.

What is contrast?

Some x-rays, and, thus, some fluoroscopies, require contrast, a dye that helps improve the quality of the images. Contrast is given intravenously or as a drink. In some cases, should the focus of the exam be on your colon or intestinal tract, the contrast may be given as an enema. If your exam requires contrast, you will be notified when you schedule your appointment and you may be asked to fast before your exam.

Contrast can sometimes have side effects, such as producing a metallic taste, feeling warm or flushed, nausea, lightheadedness or in some cases itching or hives. These will pass, but please inform your radiologist if any of these symptoms arise.

In very rare cases, contrast dyes can cause anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest, or severely low blood pressure. If you have history of any of these, please notify your radiologist before the contrast is administered for a proper risk management assessment.

What to Expect During the Exam

You will be asked to remove any jewelry or clothing that may interfere with the are of the body that is being imaged. It is likely best to leave any jewelry or other valuables at home for the exam. Please avoid wearing any clothing with metallic elements, such as zippers or buttons.

You will be asked to lie on a table during the procedure. You may be asked at points to move various body parts, hold your breath, or assume different positions in order to allow the technician to get the best data possible.

If the targeted area is a joint, it may be aspirated – this means that the excess fluid in the joint may be withdrawn with a needle – prior to the contrast dye being injected. After the contrast is administered, you may be asked to move, or work, the joint for several minutes to ensure the contrast is present in sufficient quantities. This particular procedure is referred to as an arthrogram.

Some fluoroscopies may also involve catheterization of joints, the groin, or the heart.

Though not in all cases, if the targeted area is a joint, such as the knee, it may need to be aspirated prior to the contrast dye being injected. Aspiration of a joint removes excess fluid using a needle or syringe and is done using local anesthetic in most cases.

If contrast is administered, you may be asked to move the joint for several minutes to ensure the contrast is present in sufficient quantities. This particular procedure is referred to as an arthrogram.

Some fluoroscopies may also involve catheterization of joints, the groin, or the heart.

If your exam requires any of these additional steps, you will be notified in advance.

The duration of the exam may vary depending on what part of the body is being studied. Plan on the exam taking a minimum of thirty minutes, up to an hour.

What to Expect After the Fluoroscopy Exam

You may return to regular activities right away. Your doctor will notify you of the results within a few days.

You should drink plenty of fluids to ensure that your system is flushed of the contrast dye.

For exams involving catheterization, there will be a required rest time for the area in which the catheter was inserted, keeping it immobilized to allow time to heal.

If you feel or notice any allergenic symptoms, such as itching, sneezing, redness at the injection site, rashes, hives, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, pain, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, then you should notify the staff before leaving the diagnostic center. If you notice these symptoms after leaving, you should contact your doctor or proceed directly to the nearest emergency room. If symptoms become severe, call 911.

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