What is an X-ray or Fluoroscopy?

The oldest form of diagnostic imaging, x-ray uses a focused beam of radiation and a special detector to generate images of the inside of the body. Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray that captures moving images within the body, such as within a knee joint.

What are X-rays used for?

While advanced imaging tests such as CT and MRI provide more detailed images, x-ray is a faster and less expensive test option for certain conditions, such as a broken bone. Fluoroscopy is used to evaluate specific areas of the body, such as the muscles and joints, as well as the digestive tract. Fluoroscopy is also used to guide certain interventional radiology therapies, such as pain injections and many biopsy procedures.

What should I expect during an X-ray or fluoroscopy?

You will be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry that can impact the ability of the x-ray to obtain images. In some cases, your test may require the injection of an intravenous contrast agent.

The radiographer will position you on a special x-ray table (or you may be standing) during the examination. You will be asked to hold still during an x-ray. They will then proceed to take two or three images from different angles. For a fluoroscopy, you may be instructed to move your joint in a specific way during the test.

How do I prepare for an X-ray or fluoroscopy?

As with any x-ray-based test, please inform the technologist or a patient representative if you are pregnant.

For most x-ray tests, no special preparation is required. However, there are certain tests for which preparation is vitally important to obtaining the best images: 

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)
An x-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder that requires an intravenous contrast agent injection.


  • Drink four 8-ounce glasses of water between 1:00 pm and 10:00 pm the day BEFORE your exam
  • On the day of your exam, you may have coffee, water or juice until 3 hours prior to exam.
  • You may also take medication with water, as prescribed by your physician.

Barium Enema
An x-ray of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. During this procedure, barium sulfate is injected into the colon.


  • DAY BEFORE EXAM: Clear liquids at noon and supper meals. Eat no solid food. Drink six 8-ounce glasses of water between 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm. At 5:00 pm drink one bottle of Citrate of Magnesia (10 ounces) At 8:00 pm take two Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) pills.
  • DAY OF EXAM: Insert one Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) rectal suppository upon arising. No solid food. You may have coffee, water or juice until one hour prior to the exam.

Upper GI Series
A series of x-rays of the esophagus. The x-rays are taken after you drink a barium solution.

Special instructions:

  • DAY BEFORE EXAM: Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.

For more information, or to request an appointment, please click on one of the links below or call us at 305-712-7229.

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