Hysterosalpingography, also called uterosalpingography, is an x-ray examination of a woman's uterus and fallopian tubes that uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material.
Fluoroscopy is a special x-ray technique that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the uterus and fallopian tubes are filled with a water-soluble contrast material, the radiologist is able to view and assess their anatomy and function.
How should I prepare?
- The hysterosalpingography procedure is best performed one week after menstruation but before ovulation to make certain that you are not pregnant during the exam.
- This procedure should not be performed if you have an active inflammatory condition. You should notify your physician or technologist if you have a chronic pelvic infection or an untreated sexually transmitted disease at the time of the procedure.
- On the night before the procedure, you may be asked to take a laxative or an enema to empty your bowels, so that the uterus and surrounding structures can be seen clearly.
- Prior to the procedure, you may be given a mild sedative or over-the-counter medication to minimize any potential discomfort. Some physicians prescribe an antibiotic prior to and/or after the procedure.
- You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to barium or iodinated contrast materials. You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
- Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
What should I expect?
- This examination is usually done on an outpatient basis.
- The patient is positioned on her back on the exam table, with her knees bent or her feet held up with stirrups. A speculum is inserted into the vagina, the cervix is cleansed, and a catheter is then inserted into the cervix. The speculum is removed and the patient is carefully situated underneath the fluoroscopy device. The contrast material then begins to fill the uterine cavity, fallopian tubes and peritoneal cavity through the catheter and fluoroscopic images are taken.
- In some cases, if certain abnormalities are encountered, the patient will be asked to rest and wait up to 30 minutes so that a delayed image can be obtained. This delayed image may provide clues to a patient's condition that the original images with contrast material do not. When the procedure is complete, the catheter will be removed and the patient will be allowed to sit up.
- When the examination is complete, you will be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.
- The hysterosalpingogram is usually completed within 30 minutes.
- After the procedure, your physician will receive a copy of your report within 24-48 hours, and he or she will be the one to give you the test results.