X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
A bone x-ray makes images of any bone in the body, including the hand, wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder, spine, pelvis, hip, thigh, knee, leg (shin), ankle or foot.
Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the upper GI tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. When the lower gastrointestinal tract is filled with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the rectum, colon and sometimes part of the lower small intestine.
On occasion, some patients are given other forms of orally ingested contrast, usually containing iodine. These alternative contrast materials may be used if the patient has recently undergone surgery on the GI tract, or has allergies to other contrast materials. The radiologist will determine which type of contrast material will be used.