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What is a Sonohysterogram?

By Emma Lloyd
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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A sonohysterogram is a type of ultrasound which is used to diagnose abnormalities of the uterus. This procedure is often used to determine whether any uterine abnormalities are present which might impede a healthy pregnancy. The sonohysterogram ultrasound is a very low-risk procedure, and is more effective than a conventional ultrasound at detecting structural abnormalities in the uterus.

Conventional ultrasounds use sound waves to generate images of the body’s interior. In an ultrasound, a device called a transducer is passed over the skin. The transducer emits sound waves which bounce off tissues in the body, producing echoes which differ depending on the type of tissue and the distance between the tissue and the transducer. The ultrasound unit uses this information to generate a picture of tissues inside the body.

The sonohysterogram works on the same principle, but uses a different type of probe. Another difference is that saline is infused into the uterus. The infusion of saline improves the ability of the ultrasound unit to create accurate images of the interior of the uterus, because the saline infusion inflates the uterus. This causes the uterine walls to separate, and allows for easier detection of abnormalities.

The sonohysterogram procedure is very quick, and takes only around five minutes to complete. This is an outpatient procedure which may be performed in a doctor’s office or fertility clinic. During this procedure, a speculum is used to enlarge the cervix so the the doctor is able to pass a catheter into the uterus. Saline is infused through the catheter into the uterus, and an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. During the ultrasound process, the probe can be manipulated to show different views of the uterus. It is common to experience some cramping during and after the ultrasound; for most women ibuprofen is sufficient to alleviate the pain.

Saline sonohysterography is generally recommended for women who had had problems conceiving, or have been unable to carry a pregnancy to term. In addition, women with recurrent menstrual problems or abnormal bleeding may have a sonohysterogram. This ultrasound test can diagnose problems such as fibroids, polyps, and scar tissue. All of these problems may cause infertility, miscarriage, or abnormal vaginal bleeding.

One important consideration when undergoing sonohysterography is that the procedure must be carefully timed to coincide with a particular point in a woman’s menstrual cycle. For the best results, this test must be performed between the end of a period and the beginning of ovulation. This is because the uterine walls are thinnest during this part of the menstrual cycle, which makes abnormalities easier to detect.

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