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Hysterosalpingography (HSG)

What Is an HSG?

An HSG is an x-ray exam done in fluoroscopy that uses iodine based dye injected through the cervix to exam the uterus and to see if the fallopian tubes are blocked.  An HSG can be ordered if you are having trouble conceiving or if you have had multiple miscarriages.

How should I prepare?

An HSG should be performed after your period but before ovulation, between days 6 – 10 of your menstrual cycle.  You will not have to fast for the exam.  You can take a pain medicine like ibuprofen one hour before your HSG is scheduled in order to reduce the discomfort of the test.

What Should I Expect?

When you come in you will be given a urine pregnancy test.  If it is negative, you will be asked to lie on the x-ray table with your knees bent, feet flat on the table and your legs apart.  The Radiologist or RPA will insert a speculum into your vagina, just like the ones that are used during your annual gynecologic exam.  Your cervix will be cleaned with Betadine soap in order to reduce the risk of infection.  Next, a small plastic catheter will be placed through the cervical opening.  This may feel similar to getting a pap smear.  The iodine-based dye will now be injected through the catheter.  You may feel a warm sensation and some discomfort during the injection.  The dye will fill your uterus and go through the fallopian tubes if they are open and spill into your abdominal cavity where the dye will be absorbed within one hour.  The Radiologist or RPA will take x-ray pictures while the dye is traveling through your uterus and fallopian tubes.  You may be asked to move into different positions, but the female technologist will be there to help you and make you as comfortable as possible.  Once the pictures are complete the catheter and speculum will be removed and you can go home.

Are There Potential Side Effects or Complications?

HSG is generally a safe procedure, but there are potential risks.  Infection occurs in less than one percent of cases, more commonly if you have had prior infections or if you have PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).  If you have increasing pain or fever after your test, call your doctor.  Some patients may feel dizzy and faint after an HSG, so please inform the staff if you are feeling dizzy and we will keep you laying down until you feel better.  A very rare risk is an allergic reaction to the iodine-based dye.  If you have a known allergy, please inform your doctor and the person scheduling your exam.


Your OB/GYN doctor will do the follow up with you on the results of your test and what it might mean for you.

How Do I Get the Results?

A final report describing the procedure will be sent to your doctor or healthcare provider.

Reports are also available on Radiology Ltd.’s new patient portal.