Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine of the Uniformed
Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Fluoroscopy is a technique for obtaining "live" X-ray images of a living patient - it is like an X-ray TV camera. The
Radiologist uses a switch to control an X-Ray beam that is transmitted
through the patient. The X-rays then strike a fluorescent plate that
is coupled to an "image intensifier" that is (in turn) coupled to a television
camera. The Radiologist can then watch the images "live" on a TV monitor.
Fluoroscopy is often used to observe the digestive tract (Upper GI series
- Barium Swallow, Lower GI series - Barium Enema or "BE").
The colon is clearly
seen on the BE (right). The white areas are barium (contrast) and the black
regions are air.
Fluoroscopy is also
used during many diagnostic and therapeutic Radiologic procedures, to observe the action of instruments
being used either to diagnose or to treat the patient.