The key difference between fluoroscopy and angiography is that fluoroscopy generates a live video format image of the interior of organs while angiography generates a static image of the inside of blood vessels.
Angiography and fluoroscopy are two medical techniques that work based on the same principle. Both techniques use X-rays in order to image the interior of blood vessels and organs of the body. These techniques are done in order to diagnose diseases and to guide physicians during certain treatment procedures.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Fluoroscopy
3. What is Angiography
4. Similarities – Fluoroscopy and Angiography
5. Fluoroscopy vs Angiography in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Fluoroscopy vs Angiography
What is Fluoroscopy?
Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that creates a series of images in video form. It uses an X-ray beam to generate an image. The X-ray beam is continuously passed through the body. Therefore, fluoroscopy is an X-ray based medical imaging technique similar to angiography. Unlike angiography, fluoroscopy allows real-time monitoring of the interior of the desired organ. It needs a fluoroscope, and it generates real-time still images or videos of a patient’s body. This technique is simple and non-invasive. It is most commonly used in neonates and infants to image the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts.
Since fluoroscopy uses x rays continuously (relatively high radiation dose), there is a risk of radiation-induced cancer. In addition, fluoroscopy can be responsible for other risks such as stochastic radiation effects and deterministic radiation effects like radiation burns. In order to minimize these risks, fluoroscopy is always performed with the lowest acceptable exposure for the shortest time necessary.
What is Angiography?
Angiography is an imaging technique mainly used to visualize the inside of blood vessels. The image obtained from angiography is known as an angiogram or angiograph. Angiograph is able to show narrow, blocked, enlarged, or malformed arteries or veins in different areas of the body such as the brain, kidney, heart, neck and legs. Generally, doctors use angiographs to diagnose and decide treatments for blood vessel-related diseases. The extent and severity of heart disease can be studied by a coronary angiogram.
Angiography uses a contrast agent or a dye that is visible by X-ray machines to see the blood flow through blood vessels. The dye will be injected into a thin, flexible tube called a catheter and inserted into the desired blood vessel. Then it uses x-rays to image the blood vessels. Hence, angiography mainly needs a dye and x-rays to produce an image of our blood vessels.
What are the Similarities Between Fluoroscopy and Angiography?
- Both fluoroscopy and angiography are X ray-based imaging techniques.
- In fact, angiography uses fluoroscopy for imaging.
- They are useful in both diagnosis and therapy.
- These techniques visualize internal structures, especially organs of the body.
- Contrast agents (dyes) are used in both techniques.
- Since both fluoroscopy and angiography use X-ray imaging, several risks such as developing cancer in later life and tissue effects such as cataracts, skin reddening, and hair loss, etc., are possible.
What is the Difference Between Fluoroscopy and Angiography?
Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that generates live images of different body parts, while angiography is an imaging technique that visualizes the interior of blood vessels. So, this is the key difference between fluoroscopy and angiography. Fluoroscopy is useful when watching the real-time monitoring of different parts of the body and organs such as skeletal, digestive, urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, and reproductive systems, etc. Angiography is useful in diagnosing diseases related to blood vessels, especially when studying blocked, damaged, or abnormal blood vessels.
The following table summarizes the difference between fluoroscopy and angiography.
Summary – Fluoroscopy vs Angiography
Fluoroscopy is a medical imaging technique that facilitates the watching and monitoring of moving body structures, especially the functioning organs. Angiography is an imaging technique of the interior of the blood vessels. It is helpful for doctors to study the source of the problem and the extent of damage to the blood vessel segments. Thus, this is the key difference between fluoroscopy and angiography. Both fluoroscopy and angiography are used in disease diagnosing, and they help doctors to go for treatment options.
1. “Fluoroscope” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cerebral angiography, arteria vertebralis sinister injection” By Lipothymia – From my own practice (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia