Definition of Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): A hysterosalpingogram imaging test that is used to examine the cavity of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. In a hysterosalpingogram, dye (called contrast material) is injected through a tube inserted through the vaginal into the uterus. A series of x-ray pictures are taken as the dye moves through the uterine cavity and out through the Fallopian tubes. If the Fallopian tubes are normal, the dye will flow out through the tubes into the abdominal cavity, and is then naturally absorbed by the body. The test takes about 15-30 minutes and is performed by a radiologist or gynecologist, typically in the radiology department of the hospital.

Although general anesthesia is not required, patients undergoing a hysterosalpingogram are often given mild sedatives and pain medications, since the test can produce cramping and pain similar to the pain associated with menstruation.

The hysterosalpingogram is most commonly performed for the diagnosis of infertility. The test can reveal internal abnormalities inside the uterus such as polyps, fibroids or other tumors, and foreign objects. It can also reveal any blockages in the Fallopian tubes that would prevent pregnancy from occurring. Blockage of a Fallopian tube can prevent an egg from traveling through the tube to reach the uterus or may prevent the passage of sperm through the Fallopian tube.

A hysterosalpingogram is also performed to determine whether surgery performed to reverse a tubal ligation has been successful.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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