Fluoroscopy is like a real-time x-ray movie. It can show the movement of a body part (like the heart) or the course that a medical instrument or dye (contrast agent) takes as it travels through the body.
Unlike a regular x-ray, during fluoroscopy an x-ray beam is passed continuously through the body. The image is transmitted to a monitor so that doctors can see the body part and its motion in detail. The total exposure to x-rays depends on the time of the fluoroscopy procedure and the dose of the materials used.
Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures. Some examples include:
- Barium x-rays and enemas (to view movement through the GI tract).
- Catheter insertion (to direct the placement of a catheter during angioplasty or angiography).
- Blood flow studies (to visualize blood flow to organs).
- Orthopedic surgery (to help doctors see broken bones and to set the fractures in good alignment).