Digital fluoroscopy is a form of x-ray that allows us to view deep structures of the body in real time. It provides very detailed images of function and structure of areas like the intestines, the bladder, the cardiac muscle and stomach. Unlike regular x-ray which records the image to film, digital fluoroscopy records a series of images to a computer. Once digitized, we can view the area being examined in real time on a computer monitor.


Digital Fluoroscopy

Digital fluoroscopy enables radiologists to view motion and assess the anatomy and function of different parts of the body. Fluoroscopy is frequently used to evaluate the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, the first section of the small intestine called the ‘duodenum,’ and the colon.

The digital fluoroscopy procedures that are commonly used to evaluate the gastrointestinal tract include esophagram, upper GI series (barium swallow) and barium enema. These tests assist physicians in diagnosing problems of the digestive tract (e.g. ulcers, tumors, hiatal hernias, reflux, scarring, inflammation and blockages).

Digital fluoroscopy is also used to evaluate the kidney function in angiography and venography procedures (placement of tubes in an artery or vein), pain management procedures (e.g. nerve root blocks) and some imaging guided biopsies.

For fluoroscopic exams, for gastrointestinal, they will require an 8-hour fast. Epidural steroid injections require there is no preparation. No blood thinners are to be taken for 4 days for ESI (epidural steroid injection).
Digital fluoroscopy is typically performed on an outpatient basis and appointments are frequently scheduled in the morning to minimize the patient’s fasting time. For upper GI and small bowl series tests, patients may not eat or drink anything after midnight before the test. Patients are asked to remove any clothing or jewelry that may interfere with the exposure of the body area being examined.
This test examines the “Upper GI Tract,” which is the esophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small bowel. You should not eat or drink anything or chew gum after midnight before your test is performed. You will be asked to drink a chalky white liquid called barium and to swallow granules to create air, similar to Alka Seltzer. You will be asked to step onto the X-ray machine, turn in different directions, and to hold your breath while X-ray films are obtained. After the exam is completed, you should drink a large amount of water that day and night.

This test examines the large bowel (colon). On the day before and the morning of the exam, you will be asked to take a preparation, which will clean out the colon. You will receive detailed instructions for this. For the exam, a tube is placed in the rectum and a liquid called barium is introduced along with air.

You will be asked to move in different positions and to hold your breadth while x-ray films are obtained. You may experience some mild crampy abdominal pain during this procedure. After the exam is over, you may resume normal activities and eat a normal diet. Specific instructions will follow your examination or procedure.