Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that takes real time (live) moving images of patients’ internal structures using X-rays (radiation). The fluoroscope is a flat table with a camera that pulls over the patient and creates a tunnel. The radiologist or technologist will move the camera up and down to best see the area being examined. Patients will be given X-ray contrast, or air will be used, to best show the area being studied. The images will show on a screen. The room will be dim to allow the images to be seen with more detail. During the test, the patient may hear some noises from the machine. 

Parents are welcome in the room, but siblings under 18 years of age cannot be in the room during imaging.

What to expect during your fluoroscopy

The length of the study will depend on the part of the body being imaged. Most studies are scheduled for 45 minutes.  Some studies require a delay for the contrast to move through the patient’s system. 

X-ray contrast can be given in various ways depending on the study. To look at swallowing, or the GI tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine), oral (by mouth) contrast may be used. The urinary system (bladder, ureters, kidneys, urethra) may be studied by putting contrast into the bladder with a catheter. To examine the large intestine or rectum, contrast may flow into the patient using an enema tube. Fluoroscopy can also be used for guidance during procedures such as tube placements or interventional radiology exams.

Before you arrive

Your child will be dressed in a comfort gown for the study to keep her clothes clean.

If the patient is scheduled with anesthesia or sedation, an anesthesia imaging nurse will contact you with preparation instructions. These instructions must be followed carefully.

If the patient is not scheduled with sedation or anesthesia, instructions will be given when the exam is scheduled. For some exams, it is important not to eat or drink before the appointment. 

When you arrive

Check in at the radiology department. Radiology staff will ask you questions about allergies, medications, possibility of pregnancy and surgeries.

After the scan (unless your child’s physician instructs otherwise)

If your child does not receive sedation or anesthesia, she should be able to resume normal activities immediately.

If your child receives anesthesia or sedation, you will be given discharge instructions.

The results are sent to the ordering doctor within 24-48 hours after the scan. Your child’s physician will discuss the findings with you.