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Fluoroscopy (use of dye in X-ray)

What is fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a form of X-ray that enables the doctor to see internal organs and structures in motion. A contrast material (dye) may be introduced into the body through injection, swallowing or an enema. This dye allows the picture to be viewed clearly on a monitor or screen.

Types of fluoroscopic exams include:

Upper Gastrointestinal Series (Upper GI Series):

  • An examination of the pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine

Barium Enema (Lower GI Series):

  • An examination of the large intestine

Hysterosalpingography (Hystero):

  • An examination of a woman's uterus and fallopian tubes

Preparing for Fluoroscopy

Upper GI Series:

  • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight

Lower GI Series:

  • You will receive instructions for a bowel preparation from the scheduling department when your exam is booked.


  • Your doctor will provide you with the appropriate instructions.
  • This procedure is best performed 1 week after menstruation but before ovulation to make certain that you are not pregnant during the examination.
  • Your doctor may order a pregnancy test before the exam.
  • There may be some minor spotting after the test. Patients should bring a pad to wear after the procedure.

Risks or Complications:

  • Minimal exposure to radiation.
  • You should always inform your doctor or X-ray technologist if you are or might be pregnant.

How long will a fluoroscopy procedure take?

Upper GI Series: Approximately 20 minutes

Lower GI Series: 30 to 60 minutes

Hysterosalpingography: Approximately 30 minutes

After Your Procedure

Upper GI Series:

  • You can have a regular diet.
  • You are encouraged to drink lots of fluids in order to flush the remaining barium out of your system.

Lower GI Series:

  • You may return to a normal diet and activities immediately.
  • You are encouraged to drink lots of fluids in order to flush the remaining barium out of your system.


  • You may experience slight cramping.
  • Arrange to have someone drive you home following the procedure.
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