Tubal Patency (Contrast)
Tubal patency is a test where a small volume of special foam is inserted into the fallopian tubes to check for any blockages. This procedure is usually recommended to some women who might be having difficulty conceiving.
We actually require you to have an empty bladder, so we will just get you to go to the bathroom when you arrive for your appointment.
Before the procedure commences, the doctor will explain the procedure to you step-by-step and ensure you are informed at every stage of the procedure. Our Doctor is a fully qualified Gynaecologist, Obstetrician and Sonologist who has extensive experience in this procedure.
A trans-vaginal ultrasound is performed first to assess the pelvic anatomy. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina and an antiseptic solution is used to clean the vagina and the cervix. A very thin plastic tube called a catheter with a small size balloon at the tip, is inserted into the cervix.
Once the tip of the catheter is in the uterine cavity, the balloon is inflated using a tiny amount of sterile saline (salt solution). This helps keep the catheter in place. The enlargement of the uterine cavity associated with the inflation of the balloon may cause some pain due to cramping of the uterus, however patients have stated that it is no more uncomfortable than a pap smear.
The speculum is then removed and a thin ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. The contrast is then injected through the catheter illuminating the fallopian tubes on the ultrasound and hopefully spilling around the ovary on both sides.
Without using the contrast the fallopian tubes cannot be seen on a regular ultrasound therefore it is necessary to inject the contrast.
If one or both tubes are not patent or open then this becomes obvious during the procedure. The fallopian tubes are diagnosed open if the spilling of the contrast solution is seen on both sides of the ovaries.
However, if the solution does not spill over the ovaries,this does not necessarily conclude that they are blocked as the uterus can temporarily spasm and obstruct the opening of fallopian tubes. If this is the case our doctor will inform your doctor and further assessment will be arranged by your referring doctor.
The test should be performed between days 3 to 10of your menstrual cycle - day 1 being the first day of bleeding. If you do not have a regular cycle then your doctor will inform you of the appropriate time to have the procedure done.
If you are currently ovulating (which is a phase of the female menstrual cycle, that involves the release of an egg (ovum) from one of the ovaries), or an abnormality is noted on the ultrasound the procedure will not be performed and will consequently be delayed to an appropriate time in your next cycle.
However, if the ultrasound findings are normal and consistent with the first half of the menstrual cycle, the procedure will be performed.
You may experience some mild period type abdominal pains which will usually subside shortly after the procedure finishes. However you may consider getting someone to drive you home and arrange to have the rest of the day off work.
Medical certificates can be arranged by Siles Health if you require time off work or study.
The tubal patency procedure requires the contrast which is very expensive to purchase. It is a sterile solution which has to be made up especially for each individual patient, immediately before use.
Therefore the procedure is considered expensive compared to a general pelvic ultrasound.The doctor that performs the procedure is highly qualified and specialised in Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Sonology. Our Doctor has a very gentle bedside manner and will talk you through the procedure to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
However, if you would rather an alternative procedure you may wish to discuss these options with your referring doctor.