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Child and Adolescent Health Service

Services A – Z


Princess Margaret Hospital

Diagnostic Imaging

image of fluoroscopy room - click to enlarge

What is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a radiographic procedure that uses x-rays to produce a real time diagnostic study. This allows the radiologist to watch the passage of x-ray contrast as it travels through the body. The most commonly performed examinations in our department include micturating cystourethrograms (MCU), intravenous pylegram (IVP) and barium studies including enemas and swallows.

The patient will be required to lie on or stand against a table, with a c-shaped camera around them; one end sitting directly above the patient and the other under the table.

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What Do I Do Before the Test?

Some fluoroscopy examinations do not require any preparation. Preparation is necessary when oral and/or intravenous contrasts are required. When possible, intravenous contrast requires a three hour fast from solids and a two hour fast from all fluids. This precaution is taken to reduce the chance of the patient becoming nauseous after receiving the contrast.

Oral contrast is given to the patient at the time of the examination, allowing the radiologist to take pictures as the contrast is swallowed or introduced.

Preparation is also necessary when the patient requires an anaesthetic in order for the procedure to be completed. In this situation, standard fasting requirements are to be observed.

The exact preparation required for your child’s examination will be explained to you at the time of the booking. If you are unsure or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact the department prior to the examination.

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Will I Need to Give Consent?

Prior to IVPs taking place, the parents or patient (depending on age) will be required to read and sign a consent form granting permission for the administration of intravenous contrast. This consent involves answering a number of questions about the patient’s medical history, in order to establish whether they may have an allergy to the contrast medium.

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How are the Pictures Taken?

The patient will be asked to lie still on the table as the camera is moved close to the area being examined without actually touching them. When the pictures are being taken the camera may be moved around to follow the contrast media.

The most important thing that patients need to remember when they are having a fluoroscopy procedure is that it is necessary for them to keep very still. Any movement while the images are being taken will cause blurriness, and the pictures will need to be repeated.

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Who Looks at the Pictures?

A paediatric radiologist (a doctor specially trained in children’s imaging) looks at the pictures and sends a report to your child’s doctor.

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What Happens After the Test?

The radiologist, radiographer or nurse will let you know when your child can leave.

After the test your child can eat and drink normally, unless your child’s doctor has told you otherwise.

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When Do I Get the Results?

The radiologist will review the pictures and send a report to your child’s doctor. If there is a serious problem that requires treatment your child’s doctor will be notified before you leave the department.

The results will be available at the next outpatient clinic appointment or with your GP depending on who referred you to the department. In some cases, the requesting doctor will ask you to return immediately after the scan to see them. They will contact the radiologist at the time in order to get a result.

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How Should I Prepare My Child?


Even though the test cannot be explained to your baby you can make them feel more secure if you:
  • bring along a special toy or dummy
  • talk to your child during the test

Toddlers and Preschool Age

  • Explain the test to your child just beforehand as they may become anxious if told too far in advance.
  • On the day of the test tell your child that they will be having some pictures taken and you will stay with them during the test.
  • Bring a favorite toy or book and a snack for afterwards.

School Age

  • Explain to your child in simple language that they are going to hospital to have some pictures taken of their body and that you will stay with them during the test.
  • Bring along a snack for after the test if your child needs to fast beforehand.

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