What applications does fluoroscopy have in medicine?

Fluoroscopy (or radioscopy) is a radiological imaging technique that uses a fluoroscope to obtain images of the interior of the body in real time and in movement. Basically, a fluoroscope consists of an emitter of electromagnetic radiation, usually X-rays and sometimes gamma rays, and a fluorescent screen. The patient is placed between the two so that the radiation falls on the area of ​​the body to be studied.

Some internal body structures let x-rays through while others do not. Due to this characteristic, from the other side of the body a X-ray pattern that reflects its interior and whose image can be reproduced when these rays hit the fluorescent screen.

Similar to how a conventional television works, fluoroscopes create 30 images per second and by viewing them continuously they give the sensation of movement in real time. The fluoroscope is usually coupled to a video recording system that allows the inside of the body to be viewed on a television and to a digital storage system so that the video can be viewed later for detailed study.

What is it for?

Fluoroscopy is used in medicine mainly for diagnostic purposes but also in some treatment procedures. As a diagnostic test, fluoroscopy allows doctors to study internal organs in real time looking for signs and symptoms of a disease. As a treatment, fluoroscopy is used to guide surgical interventions that if not for this technique would be much more invasive.

Among the most frequent applications we can mention:

in diagnosis

  • Digestive system: swallowing studies, esophagograms, intestinal transit, laparoscopy, barium enema, transcutaneous liver biopsies, enteroclysis, etc.
  • Urology: cystography, diagnostic percutaneous nephrostomy, excretory percutaneous urogram
  • Gynecology: hysterosalpingography
  • Neurology: myelograms
  • Cardiology: angiograms of vessels of the lower extremities, heart and brain; intracardiac electrophysiological study (EPS), etc.
  • Traumatology: arthrography, post-surgical control, etc.

In treatment

  • Stent placement: esophageal, biliary, urethral stents, intravascular stents, etc.
  • infiltrations: especially common in the intra and periarticular infiltration of drugs (anesthetics, corticosteroids, contrast solutions, etc.).
  • Dilation of stenosis vascular, digestive or urological.
  • Guided surgery: biopsies, vertebroplasties, tumor removal (especially in delicate locations), renal surgery, nephrostomy, placement of pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators, angioplasties, urological surgery (especially retrograde pyelography)

Keep in mind that the exact fluoroscopy procedure can vary considerably depending on the patient's condition, the structures to be examined, the task to be performed (visualization or intervention) and the protocols established for each region of the body. For example, some fluoroscopy-guided procedures may require the use of anesthesia and immobilization of the patient.

Video: Fluoroscopy of a Shoulder

Let's look at a real fluoroscopy where you can see the shoulder joint in motion.

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