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Fluoroscopy Studies

Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that depicts a continuous x-ray image on a monitor. Doctors use fluoroscopy to visualise structures inside the body in real-time during medical procedures. It is used to diagnose or treat patients by displaying the movement of a body part or of an instrument or dye (contrast agent) through the body example: Barium Swallow, Meal, Enema, Conventional Angiography, for embolisation and stenting of blood vessels. The most common fluoroscopy are listed below:

Shifa Fluoroscopy.jpg
Image by Michael Browning

Barium Follow Through

This test is similar to a barium meal but aims to look for problems in the small intestine.


Once you drink the barium liquid you then need to wait 10-15 minutes before any X-rays are taken.


This allows time for the barium to reach the small intestine.


You will then have an X-ray every 30 minutes or so until the barium is seen to have gone through and reached the large intestine.

Barium Swallow

The patient is required to swallow the barium liquid whilst positioned in front of the fluoroscopy tube, and images are acquired in real time.


This test aims to look for problems within the oesophagus. These include a narrowing (stricture), hiatus hernia, tumour, reflux from the stomach, and any other disorders of swallowing.


You will usually be asked not to eat or drink for a few hours before this test. A barium swallow test takes about 30 minutes.

Image by Michael Browning

Barium Meal

This is similar to a barium swallow. This study aims to look for problems in the stomach and the small intestine. These problems may include ulcers, small fleshy lumps (polyps), tumours, etc. The patient is required to swallow a barium liquid during imaging of the oesophagus and abdominal area. As part of the study patients may be asked to swallow gas granules which aids in distention of the stomach for better visualisation.

The radiologist doing the test may do one or more of the following in order to get the barium to coat the lining of the stomach:

The radiologist may ask you to drink some ENO’s or Ez gas granules before swallowing the barium. You will as much as you can have to resist the urge to burp. The gas expands the stomach and duodenum and also allows for coating of the stomach lining with bariam. The lining of the stomach and duodenum. This makes the X-ray images much clearer. It is the shape and contours of the lining of the stomach and duodenum which need to be seen most clearly on the x-ray images.

The radiologist may ask you to turn over and lie prone (on to your stomach). Various X-ray images may be acquired whilst you are in different positions.

You may be given an injection of buscopan, which causes the muscles in the stomach to relax. You will usually be asked not to eat anything for several hours before this test. (Food particles can make it difficult to interpret the X-rays.) However, you may be allowed sips of water up to two hours before the test.

Barium Studies

Barium tests are used to visualise and outline the upper and lower parts of the GIT (gastrointestinal tract) such as the oesophagus, stomach, the small and large intestines.

Why is barium used during some X-ray tests?
The GIT (gastrointestinal tract) does not show up very well on ordinary X-ray images. Barium is a white liquid that contains a chemical called barium sulphate.


The outline of the GIT shows up clearly on X-ray pictures because X-rays do not pass through barium.

Depending on what part of your GIT is being looked at, you may have one or more of the tests listed below. In each test, the barium coats the lining of the GIT being tested.

Therefore, abnormalities in the lining or structure of the git can be seen on the X-ray pictures.

The fluoroscopy unit is usually linked to a monitor.


Still images, or a video recording taken in quick succession, can be acquired if necessary.

Image by Michael Browning

Small Intestine Enema

This test is similar to a barium follow-through.


However, instead of drinking the barium liquid, a thin tube is passed down your gullet (oesophagus), through the stomach and into the first part of the small intestine.


Barium liquid is then poured down the tube.


This test is not commonly done but can provide additional information about the small intestine to the tests above.

Barium Enema

This procedure is used to visualise the large intestine.


A small catheter is introduced into the rectum.


This is used to introduce contrast media and air into the large intestine.

Image by Michael Browning

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

The patient will be intravenously injected with a contrast media.


This study detects abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters and bladder.


The most common indication is for obstruction due to stones.

Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCU)

For this procedure, a tiny catheter is introduced via the urethra into the bladder.


Contrast media is used to visualise the bladder and ureter. The common indications for this procedure include strictures and ureteric reflux.


There is no specific preparation for this examination.

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