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Chest fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray procedure used to assess the motion and function of the lungs and other structures of the respiratory tract.
Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures - similar to an x-ray "movie." A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined. The beam is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, enables physicians to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
Chest fluoroscopy may be performed when the motion of the lungs, diaphragm (dome-shaped muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity), or other structures in the chest need to be evaluated. However, chest fluoroscopy involves a higher exposure to radiation than a standard chest x-ray, so its use is carefully considered.
Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose problems of the lungs and respiratory tract include bronchoscopy, computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest, chest x-ray, chest ultrasound, lung biopsy, lung scan, mediastinoscopy, oximetry, peak flow measurement, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, pleural biopsy, pulmonary angiography, pulmonary function tests, and thoracentesis. Please see these procedures for additional information.
The respiratory system is made up of the organs involved in the interchanges of gases, and consists of the:
The upper respiratory tract includes the:
The lower respiratory tract includes the lungs, bronchi, and alveoli.
The lungs take in oxygen, which cells need to live and carry out their normal functions. The lungs also get rid of carbon dioxide, a waste product of the body's cells.
The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped organs made up of spongy, pinkish-gray tissue. They take up most of the space in the chest, or the thorax (the part of the body between the base of the neck and diaphragm).
The lungs are enveloped in a membrane called the pleura.
The lungs are separated from each other by the mediastinum, an area that contains the following:
The right lung has three sections, called lobes. The left lung has two lobes. When you breathe, the air enters the body through the nose or the mouth. It then travels down the throat through the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe) and goes into the lungs through tubes called main-stem bronchi.
One main-stem bronchus leads to the right lung and one to the left lung. In the lungs, the main-stem bronchi divide into smaller bronchi and then into even smaller tubes called bronchioles. Bronchioles end in tiny air sacs called alveoli.
Chest fluoroscopy may be performed when a problem with the motion of the lungs, diaphragm, or other chest structures is suspected. Such problems may include, but are not limited to, the following:
In addition, chest fluoroscopy may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, such as guiding the insertion of needles or catheters (long narrow tubes) within the chest.
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a chest fluoroscopy.
You may want to ask your physician about the amount of radiation used during the procedure and the risks related to your particular situation. It is a good idea to keep a record of your past history of radiation exposure, such as previous scans and other types of x-rays, so that you can inform your physician. Risks associated with radiation exposure may be related to the cumulative number of x-ray examinations and/or treatments over a long period of time.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
Chest fluoroscopy may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.
Generally, chest fluoroscopy follows this process:
Generally, there is no special type of care after chest fluoroscopy. However, your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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