Iowa Specialty Hospital

Radiology & Imaging: Fluoroscopy

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Fluoroscopy exams include the Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series, Small Bowel Series, Barium Enema, Cystogram, Esophogram, Intravenous Pyelogram, and a Hysterosalpingogram. See more information below on each of these exams.

Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series

An upper gastrointestinal series (UGI) is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum during and after drinking a barium solution. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine; the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum are collectively called the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract or upper digestive system.

An upper GI series can help detect:

  • A blockage

  • An abnormal growth or tumor

  • An ulcer

  • Diverticula, an abnormal pouch or sac opening from a hollow organ, such as the intestine

  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)

  • Hiatal hernia

  • Crohn's disease

  • Pulmonary aspiration, inhalation of fluids, food, or other foreign matter into the lungs

  • Inflammation of the stomach or small intestine

An upper GI series can take 30 minutes to two hours. A small bowel follow-through exam may take one to six hours.

Small Bowel Series

small bowel series is a procedure that studies how your body processes food from the stomach to the small intestine. Typically, a small bowel series is ordered for one of the following reasons:

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Change in bowel habits

  • Or for other reasons at the discretion of your doctor


Barium Enema

barium enema is a test that is used for finding cancers of the colon, for looking at various inflammatory conditions like diverticulitis, and for discovering polyps—especially using the air contrast technique. A colonoscopy is the principle alternative to barium enemas. Patients who are too debilitated or are unable to cooperate enough to have barium enemas, can have alternative abdominal and pelvic CT scans that detect major large bowel pathology. You should take comfort in knowing that there are few complications to barium enemas.



cystogram is an examination of the bladder using X-ray dye or contrast. A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is an examination of the bladder and the lower urinary tract or urethra (tube which carries urine out to the bladder) using X-ray contrast. A cystogram is recommended when trauma occurs to the bladder or a growth in the bladder is suspected. A VCUG is recommended after frequent urinary tract infections to check for a condition known as vesicoureteral reflux. This condition is caused by a reverse flow of urine from the bladder into the drainage system of the kidneys. Both the cystogram and VCUG take 30 minutes to perform.



An esophagram, sometimes called a barium swallow, is an examination of the throat and esophagus using X-ray imaging. During the exam, you will be asked to swallow a suspension of barium sulfate—a liquid that is opaque to X-rays. This coats your throat and esophagus, which allows them to be examined by your doctor (without the contrasting barium liquid, your throat and esophagus would be less visible to the X-rays, and therefore, less visible).

For more information, download the Esophogram/Barium Swallow handout.


Intravenous Pyelogram

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a test that uses contrast dye and X-rays to evaluate problems in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, uterus, and bladder. An IVP is done to identify any tumors, kidney stones, damage to the urinary tract from injury or infection, or other problems causing kidney malfunction or obstruction. The exam lasts 60-90 minutes. The procedure is not painful, but you will feel a sensation of warmth or heat as the contrast dye travels through your body.

For more information, download the Intravenous Pyelogram brochure.



A hysterosalpingogram is an imaging test that is part of the basic infertility evaluation.The test, usually done in the radiology department, involves a radiographic contrast dye being injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The uterine cavity fills with dye, and if the fallopian tubes are open, the dye will then fill the tubes and spill out into the abdominal cavity. In this way, it can be determined whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and whether the blockage is located at the junction of the tube and the uterus (proximal) or whether it is at the end of the fallopian tube (distal). These two areas where the tube is most commonly blocked have different causes. Effective treatment for tubal factor infertility is available.

There are other things that can potentially be seen on a hysterosalpingogram. The uterine cavity is evaluated for the presence of polyps, fibroid tumors, or scar tissue. The fallopian tubes are also examined for any defects within the tube or any suggestions of a partial blockage.

For more information, download the Hysterosalpinogram handout.


For more information on any of our Fluoroscopy exams, please visit our Locations and Hours page for contact information or download the Fluoroscopy Exams brochure below.

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