Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures - similar to an x-ray "movie." A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
A Fluoroscopic exam is painless. You will be asked to lie down on a comfortable, padded table, which will be positioned by the scanner. Fluoroscopy may be part of an examination or procedure that is done on either an outpatient or inpatient basis. The specific type of procedure or examination being done will determine whether any preparation prior to the procedure is required. Your physician should notify you of any pre-procedure instructions. Once your exam is finished, our radiologists will review your images.
The upper gastrointestinal (GI) series uses x-rays to diagnose problems in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It may also be used to examine the small intestine. The upper GI series can show a blockage, abnormal growth, ulcer, or a problem with the way an organ is working.
During the procedure, you will drink barium, a thick, white, milkshake-like liquid. Barium coats the inside lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum and makes them show up more clearly on x-rays. The radiologist can also see ulcers, scar tissue, abnormal growths, hernias, or areas where something is blocking the normal path of food through the digestive system. Using a machine called a fluoroscope, the radiologist is also able to watch your digestive system work as the barium moves through it. This part of the procedure shows any problems in how the digestive system functions, for example, whether the muscles that control swallowing are working properly. As the barium moves into the small intestine, the radiologist can take x-rays of it as well.
An upper GI series takes about 15 to 20 minutes. If the small intestine is being studied the exam may last several hours. It is not uncomfortable. The barium may cause constipation and white-colored stool for a few days after the procedure. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids after your exam to help your body expel the barium.
An IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram) is an x-ray examination of the kidneys, ureters, and urinary bladder. Most people are familiar with x-ray images, which produce a still picture of the body’s interior by passing small, highly controlled amounts of radiation through the body, and capturing the resulting shadows and reflections on film. An IVP study uses a contrast material to enhance the x-ray images. The contrast material is injected into the patient’s system, and its progress through the urinary tract is then recorded on a series of quickly captured images. The exam enables the radiologist to review the anatomy and the function of the kidneys and the urinary tract.
An IVP examination is usually done on an outpatient basis. The patient is positioned on the table, and a contrast material is injected, usually in a vein in the patient’s arm. Images are taken both before and after the injection of the contrast material. As the kidneys process the contrast material, a series of images is captured to determine the actual size of the kidneys and to show the collecting system as it begins to empty. Some kidneys don’t empty at the same rate and delayed films from thirty minutes to three or four hours may be requested. However, a typical IVP study usually takes about an hour.
You should tell your doctor about any allergies you have to foods or medications, as well as any recent illnesses or other medical conditions. If you are diabetic, make sure your doctor is aware of your condition and the medications you take. Women should always inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your IVP study. You will likely be instructed not to eat or drink after midnight the night before your exam. You may also be asked to take a mild laxative (in either pill or liquid form) the evening before the procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
Once you arrive for your exam, you will be asked to change into a gown before your examination. You will also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses, or any metal objects that could obscure the images.
When completed, the images are interpreted by one of Florida Open Imaging’s diagnostic radiologists. A report of their findings is sent to your doctor, who will notify you of those results.
A barium enema is usually done on an outpatient basis. The radiologist or technologist will ask a series of questions about the patient’s allergies and prior sensitivity to contrast materials. The patient is positioned on the table and preliminary film is obtained to check for adequacy of the bowel preparation. The radiologist or technologist will then make the contrast injection by inserting a small tube into the rectum. A mixture of barium and water is passed into the patient’s colon through the tube. To help the barium thoroughly coat the lining of the colon, aid may also be injected through the tube. Then a series of images is captured. The patient may be repositioned frequently to enable the technologist to capture views from several angles. During the study, the radiologist will view the films and request special views or close-ups.
Once the x-ray images are completed, most of the barium is drawn back into a bag, and the patient is directed to the washroom to expel the remaining barium and air. In some cases, the technologist may then take additional images to help the doctor see how well the colon has cleared. The patient is then released.
A lower GI study typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes.
As the barium fills your colon, you will feel the need to move your bowel. You may feel abdominal pressure, or even minor cramping. These are common sensations, and most people tolerate the mild discomfort easily. The tip of the enema tube is specially designed to help you hold in the barium. If you are having trouble, let the technologist know.
During the imaging process, you will be asked to turn from side to side, and to hold several different positions. At times, pressure may be applied to your abdomen. With air contrast studies of the bowel, the table may be positioned for upright films.
Most patients are able to return to a normal diet and activities immediately after the exam. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids to help expel the barium. Your stools may appear white for a day or so, as your body clears the barium from your system. After a barium enema, some people experience constipation. If you do not have a bowel movement for more than two days after your exam, or are unable to pass gas rectally, call your doctor promptly. You may need an enema or laxative to assist in eliminating the barium, and your doctor will prescribe the right solution for you.