Real-time X-ray imaging, or Fluoroscopy, can be traced all the way back to the late 1800s when Wilhelm Roentgen accidentally discovered X-rays. He noticed a fluorescent screen reacting from exposure to X-rays. This discovery was commercialized into X-ray machines very soon after. These early fluoroscopes would project X-rays onto a fluorescent screen, the patient was placed in between, and the x-Ray image would appear on the screen. This system had to be used in a very dark room and produced low-quality results.
A modern fluoroscope still uses X-rays but the fluorescent screen has been replaced with a digital detector that sends the images to a computer to be displayed on a screen. The images it produces look very similar to other types of black and white, X-ray imaging. The biggest differentiator between fluoroscopy and general radiography is the real-time capability of fluoroscopy. Images can be captured and displayed continuously during a procedure to show a live video or a series of images can be taken and displayed in real-time.
The machine we use at Integrated Sports & Spine is called a C-Arm because of its C-shape. It can be adjusted in several different directions and angles, during the procedure, in order to see the same location from a different perspective. They take a series of images as they insert and guide the needle to the exact right place. Having our own C-Arm allows us to perform almost all our interventional procedures right in our office. This can save the patient thousands of dollars versus going to a surgery center.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
When you arrive to our office you will be take to our procedure suite. Your vitals will be taken, just like every visit. When your provider comes into the room they will direct you to lay face down on the imaging table. The area along your spine that is receiving the injection will be cleaned and numbed. The provider with then use the fluoroscope to guide the needle into place and inject the medication. The needles are removed and the injection site is covered with small band-aids. The entire process usually takes less than fifteen minutes.
Our Radiology Tech, Val, is showing us the different way our Fluoroscope can move during an interventional procedure.