UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Fluroscopic Examinations

What is a Fluoroscopic Examination?

Your physician has requested a fluoroscopic examination to assist in evaluating your health status. This examination is done in the Radiology Department and involves the use of "Live" x-rays to examine different body structures and organs. The physician can actually "see" your organs. The Radiologist takes multiple images in a during the examination.

Preparation for the examination

For many fluoroscopic examination, patients will may drink barium or have rectal barium contrast for certain exams.

You may be asked not to eat or drink anything from midnight the day before the examination until the examination is completed. Patients having a barium enema will have a specific bowel preparation the evening prior to the requested examination. The oral contrast highlights the stomach and small bowel, while the rectal contrast highlights the colon or large bowel. These particular examinations are looking for ulcers, polyps, and other abnormalities of the bowel.  

Other fluoroscopic examinations are arthrograms, myelograms, lumbar punctures, and hysterosalpingography. These examinations are very specific in nature and should be discussed with your personal physician. These examinations require an injection of contrast media.

If you know you are allergic to iodine contrast or are diabetic or hypertensive, please advise your physician and the technologist before your examination. Let the technologist know if you are, or suspect you might be pregnant before your examination.

During the examination

The length of time involved depends on the area of the body being scanned. Any exam could take approximately 30 to 60 minutes. You may need to lie motionless or you may need to roll your body on the examination table during the procedure.

It is very important that you be able to follow directions when the images are being taken so that the images are not blurred or information is not missed. You may be asked to hold your breath for the pictures. More specific instructions will be given to you at the time of your examination. While your study is being checked for clarity, you may be asked to wait. If additional images are needed, they will be taken at that time.

After the Scan

Previous activities may be resumed unless otherwise instructed by your physician or nurse. Your fluoroscopic examination will be reviewed by a Radiologist and a report will be sent to your doctor in approximately 3 days. Your physician will discuss the results with you. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your test results and their impact on your health. If you have any questions, please ask your physician.

Most patients are able to return to a normal diet and activities immediately following the exam. Contrast material is used, and is naturally eliminated from your system. Oral contrast material may cause constipation in some patients.