An example of a fluoroscopy. Photograph: spineuniverse.com
Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique commonly used to obtain real-time moving images of the body's internal structures through a fluoroscope. In its simplest form, a fluoroscope consists of an x-ray source and a fluorescent screen. Modern fluoroscopes combine the screen with an x-ray image intensifier and a CCD video camera, which allows the images to be recorded and played on a monitor.
The use of the x-rays requires that the potential risks be balanced against the benefits the fluoroscope to the patient. Although low doses are always tried to be used during a fluoroscopic procedure, the general length of a typical procedure results in a high absorbed dose to the patient.
They can be used to:
- investigate the gastrointestinal tract
- aid fracture reduction and the placement of metalwork during orthopaedic surgery
- carry out an angiography of the heart, leg and cerebral vessels
- aid urological surgery