What is Fluoroscopy?
Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray used to visualize moving structures. It is like watching a movie and enables the technologist, or physician to see detailed images of the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
Typical Fluoroscopy procedures include Barium Enema’s (BE), or Upper Gastric Imaging (UGI).
What is a BE?
An air contrast barium enema is an imaging test used to obtain a visual picture of the colon. With advances in technology, air contrast barium enemas are being used less often. Instead, colonoscopies are more commonly used since they are able to detect smaller polyps and cancers that might be missed by a barium enema. However, air contrast barium enema can be useful to detect inflammatory conditions of the colon, such as diverticulitis.
What to Expect During Your Exam?
Once you arrive in Radiology you will be asked to change into a gown. It will be necessary to remove all of your undergarments otherwise they will show up on the images.
On the day of the test, you will be brought into the testing room and positioned on a table. The technologist will also ask you various questions about your symptoms and explain the exam to you. The actual exam will last about 30 minutes.
The X-ray technologist will take a preliminary X-Ray of your abdomen. After that, he or she will insert a lubricated tube into your anus and a liquid solution called barium sulfate will slowly fill your lower intestine.
Air will then be added through the tube to get a clear picture of the lining of the intestine. The technologist will then position you in different angles so that images can be taken. Once you are in the correct position, it is important to remain still and hold your breath to minimize blurring of the images.
A radiologist will also view the barium within your intestines on a specialized monitor that allows video images of the body to be seen. He or she may also push on the outside of the lower abdomen using a small paddle to separate areas of overlapping bowel.
As the test is being performed, it is common to feel slight cramping or a strong urge to have a bowel movement. Please do your best to retain the barium solution. Taking deep breaths can help you relax and may alleviate this feeling.
As soon as all of the required images are captured you will be allowed to go to the bathroom.
What Happens After the Test?
You will be allowed to return to your normal diet and lifestyle soon after the test.
Once the technologists have checked the images for proper positioning and exposure parameters it will be sent electronically to a Radiologist to be read. After the radiologist has interpreted your exam a medical transcriptionist will type the exam and send a report to your doctor. This usually takes a few business days.
Your physician does have several options at his or her disposal to obtain immediate results for critical or emergent clinical situations.