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Hysterosalpingography is the procedure where x-rays of a woman’s reproductive tract are taken, after a dye injection. This procedure may be also called as hysterography (or HSG).  Hystero means uterus and salpingo means tubes, so hysterosalpingography literally means to take pictures of the uterus and fallopian tubes.


When is it used?

Hysterosalpingography is used to determine if fallopian tubes are open, or if there is any apparent abnormality or defect in the uterus. It can be used to detect tumors, scar tissue, or tears in the lining of the uterus. This procedure is often used to help diagnose infertility in women. (The fallopian tubes are the location where an egg from the ovary joins with sperm to produce a fertilized ovum. If the fallopian tubes are blocked or deformed, the egg may not be able to descend or the sperm may be blocked from moving up to meet the egg. Up to 30% of all cases of infertility are due to damaged or blocked fallopian tubes).


This procedure should not be done on women who suspect they might be pregnant or who may have a pelvic infection. Women who have had an allergic reaction to dye that are used in previous x-ray procedures should inform their doctor.

As with other types of pelvic examinations, the woman will lie on her back on an examination table with her legs sometimes raised in stirrups. The x-ray equipment is placed above the abdomen.

A speculum is inserted into the vagina and a catheter (a thin tube) is inserted into the uterus through the cervix (the opening to the uterus). A small balloon in the catheter is inflated to hold it in place. A liquid water-based or oil-based dye is then injected through the catheter into the uterus. This process can cause cramping, pain, and uterine spasms, exactly as regular period.

As the dye spreads through the reproductive tract, the doctor may watch for blockages or abnormalities on an x-ray monitor. Several x rays will also be taken. The procedure takes approximately 15-30 minutes.

Interestingly, sometimes the hysterosalpingography procedure itself can be considered a treatment. The dye used can sometimes open up small blockages in the fallopian tubes.


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