Doctors at Children’s Colorado use fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions. It’s most commonly used to image the gastrointestinal (GI) system using a contrast solution (like barium, which is usually swallowed) to visualize how the contrast moves through a child's digestive system.
What is pediatric fluoroscopy?
A fluoroscopy machine uses X-rays to create a live “movie” of structures inside the body. The doctor watches these moving images on a monitor to see how an organ or body system functions in real time.
In many fluoroscopy procedures, we use a contrast material to highlight specific areas, like organs or blood vessels. Depending on the type of exam and area of the body, this material can be swallowed, injected or given through a contrast enema.
The team performing your child’s fluoroscopy includes a radiologist and radiologic technologist. Both have specialized training and experience doing these procedures for children.
At Children’s Colorado, limiting exposure to radiation is our top priority. Our fluoroscopy equipment is specifically adapted for pediatric use and uses the least amount of radiation possible. We follow the Image Gently national guidelines on radiation.
Learn why pediatric radiology matters.
How should I prepare my child for pediatric fluoroscopy?
- Take time to talk with your child and explain the fluoroscopy.
- Reassure your child that they’ll be safe and comfortable.
- You may want to bring a comfort item like a stuffed animal, toy or blanket.
If you’re pregnant, you need to avoid X-rays, so please bring another adult to the hospital to support your child. Siblings and other children are not allowed in the exam room during the test, so please make arrangements for someone to stay with them.
What to expect during your child’s fluoroscopy
Your child may feel nervous about getting a fluoroscopy, so it’s helpful to know what to expect. A fluoroscopy will generally look like this:
Check in to the hospital
- Please arrive between 30 and 45 minutes before your child’s scheduled fluoroscopy, or as instructed by the radiology scheduler.
- Bring a list of your child’s medicines and insurance card.
- We’ll give your child an identification bracelet to ensure they get the right test.
- A fluoroscopy technologist talks with you about the procedure and answers any questions. In some cases, a child life specialist will also meet with your family.
Take X-rays in our fluoroscopy room
- We’ll escort you and your child to our fluoroscopy room.
- Your child wears a hospital gown and lies on the X-ray table.
- Depending on the type of test, we may give your child contrast fluid (often through an oral dosage or, less frequently, through an IV).
- We place a large camera directly over your child’s body.
- We activate the X-ray machine, which creates a moving image on the screen. We use as little radiation as possible for your child’s safety.
- If your child had a contrast enema, they use the bathroom to release the fluid and then take a final X-ray.
- The radiologist reviews the results and shares them with your child’s doctor, who follows up with you on next steps.
What to expect after pediatric fluoroscopy
Your child can return to regular activities right away, unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
If you have any questions and/or concerns, call the ParentSmart Healthline toll free at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636). Caring pediatric nurses are available 24/7 to help answer your health questions.
Why choose us for pediatric fluoroscopy
As a comprehensive pediatric hospital, Children’s Colorado specializes in caring for children’s unique medical needs. We offer:
- Expertise: Our skilled Imaging Services team cares for thousands of children throughout Colorado. A highly trained radiologist and radiologic technologist perform your child’s fluoroscopy.
- Child-friendly exams: We use small doses of radiation and child-sized X-ray machines to provide a safer, more comfortable experience. Your child also gets age-appropriate support from our child life specialists, who specialize in putting kids at ease.
- Advanced technology: We use sophisticated equipment to create accurate images of your child’s body, so we can provide accurate diagnosis and treatment.
- Convenience: We offer radiology, imaging and testing at several of our locations throughout Colorado. You can filter by specialty service, city or zip code to find the test you need closest to home.
Learn more and schedule pediatric fluoroscopy
If you have more questions or want to schedule a fluoroscopy study, please contact our general radiology scheduling line at 720-777-6541.