Saline UltrasoundA saline ultrasound can provide insight into the cause of infertility, pelvic pain and other women’s health issues.
A saline ultrasound—or a saline infusion sonohysterogram (SIS or SHG)—is an imaging procedure that is used to evaluate the shape and size of the uterus. Although similar to a transvaginal ultrasound, it incorporates spraying a sterile saline solution that gives the clinician a more detailed view of the uterine cavity and any abnormalities that may be present.
Images produced by a saline ultrasound can provide insight into the cause of certain women’s health problems, including:
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Unexplained pelvic pain
- Intense menstrual cramps
Specifically, saline ultrasounds can identify:
- An abnormally shaped uterus
- Atypical tissue growths
A saline ultrasound is an outpatient procedure that does not require general or local anesthesia. Here’s what it entails:
- A gel-covered transducer wand is gently inserted into the vagina to take standard ultrasound images of the uterus.
- The transducer wand is removed, and a speculum is placed in the vagina to keep it open and provide a view of the cervix.
- A small catheter is inserted into the cervix and the speculum is removed.
- The transducer wand is inserted back into the vagina, and saline is sprayed into the uterus through the catheter. Additional ultrasound images are taken.
- The transducer wand is removed. Fluid will slowly drain from the uterus over the course of a few hours.
Saline ultrasounds are not performed in pregnant women. Additionally, it’s best for women to receive this procedure about one week after their period ends.
What to Expect
Saline ultrasound is a safe and reliable imaging method that can usually be completed in less than 30 minutes. Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen beforehand can help alleviate any discomfort that may occur during or after the procedure, although saline ultrasounds are generally not considered painful.
The most common serious complication of saline ultrasounds is pelvic infection, which occurs in less than 1% of cases. Other possible side effects include mild cramping, vaginal discharge and spotting.
The diverse team of women’s health specialists at Tampa General Hospital provides patient-centric, well-rounded care to women in all stages of life. We offer saline ultrasounds and other diagnostics, infertility treatment, gynecological surgery and more. By merging compassionate care with progressive technology, we help our patients achieve world-class outcomes.