What is fluoroscopy?
Fluoroscopy is like an X-ray movie. It is painless, using continuous X-rays to capture movement in the body in real time. These images allow doctors to view your child’s insides in motion. Fluoroscopy is used for a wide variety of examinations and procedures to diagnose and treat patients.
What does fluoroscopy look, sound, and feel like?
Look: Fluoroscopy is done in a large room that has a tent-like machine that will go over the top of your child once they are on the table. There is also a TV so that you can watch the video of your child’s insides.
Sound: The machine will make a locking sound when the doctor brings the camera over the top of your child, and it will make a beeping sound when the doctor is taking pictures of their insides.
Feel: During some exams, your child will drink a special dye so we can see their insides better. In other exams, we may use a small tube to get the dye to the area that we need to see. The tube can cause irritation but there shouldn’t be severe pain. The need to use the bathroom is a common experience.
How do you prepare for a fluoroscopy?
You will receive specific instructions before your child’s appointment, but here are a few tips to help prepare for the exam and answers to commonly asked questions:
- Take time to talk to your child and explain the test. Reassure them they’ll be safe and comfortable. For preschoolers, it’s best to discuss the day of the scan; for school-aged children, it’s best to discuss two to three days before; and for adolescents, it's best to discuss one to two weeks before.
- Bring a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal, toy, or blanket to use during waiting times or in the imaging room.
- Dress your child in comfortable clothing.
- Can my child eat and drink before their fluoroscopy? Ask your child’s doctor about the specific exam.
- Can my child take their regular medication? Yes, your child can take their regular medication before an X-ray.
- What happens if my child needs contrast? Many fluoroscopy studies require contrast. Please let us know if your child has had a reaction to contrast in the past. The contrast will be administered during the exam.
- Who may accompany the patient during the exam? One parent may be in the room during the exam, but no siblings are allowed.
What should I expect during the fluoroscopy?
- After you’re checked in, you and your child will be invited into the fluoroscopy room, where the radiographer or radiologist will explain the procedure to you.
- Your child will then change into a hospital gown and be positioned on the examination table for their procedure. Speech pathology studies are performed sitting up in a chair or booster.
- The camera will move closely around your child but will not touch them. It will take images from different angles, so your child may be placed into various positions.
- Fluoroscopy involves the use of contrast or dye. How we administer the contrast varies by specific procedure. It can be done by IV or through some of the following methods:
- Barium swallow: Your child will be asked to drink the dye, and the radiologist will use the camera to view this in the esophagus and into the stomach. We will capture images of this contrast, following it through the stomach and into the small intestine.
- Barium enema: The contrast dye will be administered through a small tube that is placed into your child’s bottom. The radiologist will use the camera to view the dye as it travels through the rectum and into the large colon.
- VCUG: The contrast dye will be administered through a catheter into your child’s bladder. The radiologist will use the camera to view the dye as it travels through the bladder.