Fluoroscopy is a special type of x-ray that allows a radiologist to see bones, joints and internal organs in detail and in real time. The x-ray is administered continuously to create a sequence of detailed images while a dye allows us to see movement.

At Radiology Associates of Richmond, we used fluoroscopy for three primary procedures: viewing the upper gastrointestinal tract, viewing the colon (barium enema) and viewing the kidneys and bladder (intravenous pyelogram).

You should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or if you have any allergies before these procedures. Some people are allergic to barium or iodine, the contrast materials

After your procedure, Radiology Associates of Richmond will interpret your test results and then send your physician a report so he or she can discuss your results and next steps with you.

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

Fluoroscopy of the upper GI tract allows us to view your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine to diagnose ulcers, tumors, blockages, or other abnormalities. If you’re having trouble swallowing or have indigestion, reflux, vomiting, pain or blood in your stool, your doctor may refer you for an upper GI fluoroscopy.

Tip: wear clothing that’s easy to remove. We may ask you to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and other accessories.

We will take one x-ray and then ask you to ingest a contrast material, such as barium or iodine, along with E-Z-Gas, an oral contrast agent. Once the contrast material coats your upper GI tract (the contrast material makes the organs appear dark in the x-ray), we will take still x-rays and then view and assess the anatomy and function of your upper GI tract in real time on a TV monitor. The test takes about 20 minutes.

Preparing for an Upper GI series. You need to fast from midnight the night before until after your exam is complete. This includes drinking water, chewing gum and taking pills. Don’t smoke.

Barium Enema

Fluoroscopy of the lower GI tract allows us to view your colon (large intestine) for polyps (precancerous growths), blockages, cancer or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). If you have chronic diarrhea, blood in your stool, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or a change in bowel habits, your doctor may order a barium enema.

Preparing for a Barium Enema. It’s critical that your bowel is completely free of stool before the test, so we will provide strict instructions about how to prepare the day before your barium enema. In general, you’ll be restricted to clear liquids with no food or drink after midnight the day of your procedure and we may also ask you to take a laxative or over-the-counter enema prep. If your bowel is not clear, we will have to reschedule your procedure, so be sure to follow the instructions.

Upon arrival, we will take one x-ray to ensure your bowel is clean. Then we will administer barium through an enema (inserting fluid into the colon or rectum) and take x-rays of your colon. Once we’re sure we sure we have good x-rays, we’ll lower the bag and the barium will drain out of your bowel. At that point, we may take additional x-rays.

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

An intravenous pyelogram allows us to use x-rays to view your urinary system, including your kidneys (which filter blood), the ureter (the tube that takes urine to your bladder from your kidneys) and your bladder (which stores urine until you go to the bathroom). If you have blood in your urine, or are experiencing lower side or back pain, your doctor may order an IVP. During your IVP, we will inject an iodinated dye, which turns your urinary system bright white on the x-ray image. An IVP allows us to diagnose abnormalities in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate.

We’ll take one x-ray before we inject you with the contrast dye and then take another eight or so x-rays.

Preparing for an IVP. We will give you detailed instructions before your IVP. This includes drinking only clear liquids after 8 p.m. and not eating or drinking after midnight the day of your test. We may also ask you to take a laxative to clean your bowels. Clean bowels give us a better view of your urinary tract.