Basic Vocabulary of Fluoroscopy

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  • 0:01 Dangerous Movies
  • 0:30 What Is Fluoroscopy?
  • 2:45 A Dangerous Movie
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

There are movies that are truly dangerous to your health! No, it's not the latest action flick that almost caused you a heart attack. It has to do with the world of fluoroscopy and its related definitions.

Dangerous Movies

Can you think of some potentially dangerous movies or films that had a lot of danger? Well, any action movie you can think of will suffice. Political films are also seen as dangerous by some. It's unlikely you're an actor in any of these movies. But there are movies that you can star in, movies that may pose a danger to you. Do you know what movies I'm talking about? You will, soon enough, as we define fluoroscopy and its related terminology.

What Is Fluoroscopy?

Pictures are to movies as X-rays are to fluoroscopy. A picture is a still image of something, like your family. A movie is a moving picture, like a family home video. An X-ray is a still image of an internal structure, like a bone. Fluoroscopy is like a real-time X-ray movie of the insides of your body. It's like reality X-ray TV! And still images from fluoroscopy look sort of like the images you see on an airport baggage security screen.

A more technical definition of fluoroscopy is a kind of medical imaging technique that uses a fluoroscope to show a continuous X-ray image on a fluorescent screen or video monitor. A fluoroscope is a medical instrument used for the visual observation of the body via X-rays, and X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation. The recording of images that appear on a fluoroscopic screen is called cineradiography - pretty clever huh? 'Cine-' stands for movement, like in cinematography, 'radio-' for radiation, and '-graphy' refers to the process of recording something.

During fluoroscopy, an X-ray beam is passed through a particular area of the body, like bones, organs, or both, and the resulting image is nowadays transmitted to a monitor. But in yesteryear, such images showed up on the other side of a person on a fluorescent screen and, thus, the term fluoroscopy. This moving image is important because it not only helps a doctor see the anatomical structure of something, like a traditional X-ray image, but also the action and function of a structure, like the throat, in real-time.

I mean, can you tell that Uncle Max has a limp from a single picture? Probably hard to do. But in a home movie, such action and function of his joints are readily noticeable. That's why fluoroscopy is so powerful - it allows us to see the action of a potentially diseased or damaged body part in real-time. By the way, the word fluoroscopy comes from 'fluor/o,' which easily enough means 'fluorescence,' and '-scopy,' which means the visual examination of something.

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