What should I know about Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray imaging.  It allows physicians to view real-time (movie-like) images of your internal structures. Because fluoroscopy involves the use of x-rays, ionizing radiation, all fluoroscopic procedures pose some health risks.  If you are pregnant, you should discuss these risks with your physician before having this procedure.

What should I know about Fluoroscopic X-ray Dye?

Fluoroscopy procedures require various types of x-ray dyes depending on the reason for the procedure and what information the physician wants to obtain from the procedure.  The most commonly used x-ray dye is barium sulfate, a white-chalky substance.  Other x-ray dyes used in our fluoroscopy department are water-soluble agents, omnipaque (iohexol) and hypaque (diatrizoic acid).  The technologist will ask you a series of questions before giving you the x-ray dye to reduce the chance of a contrast reaction.  Having a known allergy to x-ray dye will not necessarily prevent you from having the procedure but may require pre-medication so please inform the technologist.

What is a Fluoroscopic Defecography?

A fluoroscopic defecography is a procedure done by one of our radiology physicians and technologists in the x-ray department to evaluate your rectum.  You will be asked to drink a cup of x-ray dye and wait for it to travel through your small intestine.  The Radiologist will perform a digital rectal exam.  A small tube will be inserted 1-2 inches into your rectum.  X-ray dye will be injected through that tube and fill your rectum.  The tube will be removed and you will be asked to sit on a portable commode in front of the x-ray machine.  You will be asked to contract and relax your pelvic muscles as well as to empty your rectum while these x-ray images are being taken.  You can expect this procedure to take 30-60 minutes.

What should I do before the procedure?

This procedure requires a bowel cleansing preparation starting no later than 12 noon on the day before your scheduled procedure.  You will need a bowel preparation kit with diet instructions and laxatives for this cleansing.  If your doctor's office can not provide you with this kit you should:

Come to our Radiology Department at least 48 hours before your scheduled procedure and ask for your free bowel preparation kit.


Purchase a bowel preparation kit at your local pharmacy at least 48 hours before your scheduled procedure.  You will need to ask the Pharmacist for a "Fleet Brand, Bowel Prep Kit #1".

The prep kit you receive should include a packet or bottle of magnesium citrate (or Phospha-soda), 3 or 4 Ducolax tablets (or something similar). Some kits contain a suppository.  DO NOT USE THE SUPPOSITORY.  If you have any questions as to whether or not you have the right kit, please call the Fluoroscopy Department at (434) 924-9340. If the right prep kit is not used, the procedure may have to be rescheduled.

If you have active colitis with excessive diarrhea (10-12 stools daily), or if you are diabetic or for any reason need more calories than the liquid diet provides, you should consult your physician before taking this bowel preparation.

Additionally, we ask that you arrive 15-20 minutes before your scheduled procedure time to check-in and be registered.  You should come to Radiology Reception on the first floor of the main hospital located at 1215 Lee Street.  You can park in the parking deck directly across from the Main Lobby Entrance and we will validate your ticket or you can take advantage of our valet parking services.

What should I do after the procedure?

You can return to your normal activity after this procedure unless instructed otherwise by our Radiologist.  It is a good idea to increase your fluid intake by drinking water after any barium procedure.


For any questions or concerns

Contact the Radiology and Medical Imaging department at 434-924-9400.