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Radiology (Xray)


Contact: RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Appointments: (0191) 282 4428

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This information is designed to give you some details about having a Hysterosalpingogram, to help you prepare for your examination and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend. 

An HSG is a test carried out to see if there is a blockage in your fallopian tubes. This is to determine whether or not this is the cause of your infertility. The result of this test will be used to determine the next stage of your treatment for infertility.

It is very important to read all of the information. 

If your first language is not spoken English and you need someone to interpret for you or use sign language, please telephone the department as soon as possible on: 0191 282 4330. Relatives and friends are not asked to interpret as it is essential you understand the full procedure.

What is a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)?Show [+]Hide [-]

A Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an x-ray of the womb and fallopian tubes. A soft catheter is passed through the cervix. Once in place a colourless and odourless liquid called contrast is passed along the tube flowing into the womb and the fallopian tubes.  This is carried out in the X-ray Department, Level 3, New Victoria Wing at the RVI.

What do you advise before the procedure is carried out?Show [+]Hide [-]

It is very important that you are not pregnant. We advise women to use a reliable contraceptive or refrain from sex until after the appointment. You will be asked to sign a form to declare that, to the best of your knowledge, you are not currently pregnant.

  • The appointment will be arranged between seven and ten days from the first day of your last period. 
  • Under some circumstances the procedure can be done after the 10th day from the start of your last period. You will need a blood test or to completely refrain from intercourse to ensure that you are absolutely not pregnant.
  • The procedure will not be carried out until the result is known. A urine pregnancy test is not reliable enough at the very early stages of pregnancy.

Women who are in any doubt about this will be asked to have a blood test at the place they were referred from (their GP, the Centre for Life (tel: 0191 213 8213 Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm) or the referring Hospital Consultant).

If you are still bleeding on the day of your appointment, please telephone the department for advice as the test may have to be postponed: tel: 0191 282 9360 Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm.

If you are on any medication please continue as usual.

What will happen on the day?Show [+]Hide [-]

You will be met by one of the x-ray nurses (female) who will check your personal details.

We need to know:

  • The first day of your last period.
  • Your height and weight.
  • Any allergies or relevant medical conditions.

We will ask you to remove your lower garments and put on a gown. The nurse carrying out the examination will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form and a form that confirms you are not pregnant.

It is usually a female nurse who carries out the procedure. A male consultant radiologist will be available for consultation if necessary. You can ask questions at any time.


What does the procedure involve? How will it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

The nurse carrying out the procedure will wear a surgical gown and sterile gloves, as this is a sterile procedure. The position for the procedure is similar to having a smear, knees bent up, ankles together and legs open. You will only be uncovered for a short time while the nurse cleans the vulva with warm sterile saline solution.

  • You will be asked to lie on the x-ray table; the camera will move over you but will not touch you. It takes a few  minutes for the equipment to be prepared.
  • You will be covered with a sterile drape.
  • Next, a speculum is inserted into the vagina to provide access to the cervix (neck of the womb).
  • A small catheter is inserted into the cervix, which is held in place with a small balloon, (you may feel some pressure at this time). Once this is in position you can make yourself more comfortable.
  • The contrast will be injected through the catheter while x-rays are taken. When the contrast is injected you may get period type pains. This can sometimes be quite uncomfortable but will not last long.
  • The nurse may ask you to raise your hips or roll from side to side to allow the dye to flow into the tubes.

Your privacy and dignity will be maintained throughout the procedure. There are three members of staff needed in the room during the procedure (all usually female).  We sometimes have a medical or nursing student who would only stay with your permission.

How long will the procedure take?Show [+]Hide [-]

The procedure usually takes 15 to 40 minutes, but you may be in the department for up to one hour.

What are the risks?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The risk of perforation of the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes, is very small, less than 1 in 1000. This has never happened in Newcastle in the last 30 years.
  • The risk of infection is less than 1%.
  • The risk of fainting is less than 1%.

What are the benefits?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • This is a non-surgical test that is done without the use of either local or general anaesthetic.
  • You will attend hospital as an out patient and only be in the x-ray department for approximately one hour
  • The initial results are given to you verbally before you leave the Department.
  • There is a very low complication rate.
  • The results of this test will be used to determine the next stage of your treatment.

What happens after the procedure is finished?Show [+]Hide [-]

You will stay in the x-ray room and at this point you will be allowed to bring in your partner or family member. You will be given your initial verbal results. The images taken will be looked at in more detail at a later stage and a final report will be sent to your referring Doctor.

Can I return to work/ drive home afterwards?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes, if you feel well enough.

AftercareShow [+]Hide [-]

Some of the contrast used during the procedure is passed via the vagina; this can be a little blood stained and is nothing to worry about. Wear a panty liner until this has stopped.

Some of the contrast will be absorbed into your bowel and passed within your urine. You will not notice any change in your urine. You may also experience some period type pains. Both the blood stained spotting and period type pains can vary and last for up to seven days, but usually just one to three days. We advise some simple pain killers such as paracetamol.

Sexual intercourse can be resumed following the procedure.

If you develop:

  • uncontrolled bleeding
  • offensive smelling discharge
  • severe pelvic pain
  • high temperature

Contact your GP urgently.

I need an ambulance. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you need an ambulance/transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days notice. Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only. Please inform the department if you are arriving by ambulance as we will try to arrange your appointment time to fit in with ambulance arrivals.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment?Show [+]Hide [-]

If your appointment time is not convenient, please contact the hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to offer the appointment to someone else.

  • RVI X-ray Appointments - tel: 0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm)

Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 

The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.

Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you. All information is stored securely and is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.

You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:

What if I have any comments, suggestions or questions?Show [+]Hide [-]

Please make these known to the person conducting your examination, or by letter addressed to:

Radiology Sister      
X-Ray Department Level 3
New Victoria Wing                         
Royal Victoria Infirmary                                        
Queen Victoria Road                                            
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP                          
Tel: 0191 282 9360    

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm               

All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS.  You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email

Produced by: Specialist Nurse Joan Hood and Specialist Nurse Helen Forster

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2018 Site by TH_NK