A hysterosalpingogram is a radiology procedure that helps a doctor look at the inside of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and the area around them. Often referred to as an HSG test, a hysterosalpingogram is usually recommended when a woman is having a difficult time getting pregnant. The procedure is performed by a radiologist or OB/GYN physician. An HSG can help a doctor determine if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. It also allows them to look for injury, polyps, fibroids, or any blockage that may be preventing a pregnancy from happening. If the tubes are blocked the procedure will help the doctor identify its location.
What happens during a Hysterosalpingogram
Patients are taken into an X-ray room that is equipped with a fluoroscope. A fluoroscope allows the radiologist or doctor to watch the procedure on a monitor as it is happening.
The setup may feel familiar to a pelvic exam, in that a speculum is placed in the vagina, and then a small thin tube is placed into the cervix. At the start of the procedure, a dye is put through the thin tube. Patients may feel some cramping. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into and through the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken with the fluoroscope as the dye passes through each one. Patients may be asked to move onto their side to capture all sides of the tubes. Once all the desired images are taken, all instruments will be removed, and you will be able to sit up. The pictures will be able to tell the doctor if there are any abnormal structures of the uterus or fallopian tubes. They can also show a blockage that would prevent an egg from moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. The test also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall. The last x-ray will be taken to ensure the dye has drained from the area. The entire procedure only takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
Preparing for a Hysterosalpingogram
Ideally, the exam should be performed between 5 and 12 days after the start of the menstrual cycle. Patients should abstain from intercourse from the beginning of their menstrual cycle until after the procedure. As with any procedure, please alert your doctor to any allergies. Your doctor may ask you to have tests done prior to the procedure to make sure you don’t have any pelvic infections.
Recovery from a Hysterosalpingogram
Do not be alarmed if you see some spotting, this is not unusual. You should remember to bring a small sanitary pad on your visit to wear after the procedure. If there is excessive bleeding, contact the doctor. If you are feeling menstrual-type cramps, ask the doctor if it is okay to take a pain reliever. If pain worsens, or you develop a fever, call the doctor.
If you are considering having a hysterosalpingogram, contact the Surgery Center of Fort Collins for more information. We do perform this surgery for patients, and it is often more affordable and less stressful to have it done at our ambulatory surgery center as opposed to in a hospital setting.