Saline Infusion & Tubal Patency in Ottawa

Patients experiencing infertility or other women's health issues may feel both anxious and hopeful about coming in for SIS and tubal patency testing. At Premier Imaging, you can count on compassionate diagnostic care.

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Saline Infusion & Tubal Patency, Ottawa

What is Saline Infusion & Tubal Patency?

If you are experiencing infertility issues, you need clear, accurate answers. With saline infusion sonography (SIS), we can investigate problems with fertility, assess tubal patency in infertile patients, and evaluate the size and position of the cervix and uterine cavity. 

As you prepare for your SIS and tubal patency evaluation, you may feel like you are on a "roller coaster ride" of emotions - from frustration to sadness, anxiety, feelings of hopefulness about a potential diagnosis and solutions, and more. Feeling one or all of these is very common, and we often see these emotions in patients who come in for testing. 

Wherever you are on this spectrum, our team of expert radiologists and support staff are here to guide you through every step of the process, and to help you feel relaxed, safe, and comfortable. 

The Saline Infusion & Tubal Patency Process

A tubal patency study can help us find out why a woman may be having difficulty conceiving. When saline solution is passed into the fallopian tubes, we will be able to see whether the tubes are patent or "open" courtesy of the ultrasound. 

SIS may also be recommended if you suffer from irregular, heavy or post-menopausal bleeding or have had abnormal ultrasound results. Following your appointment, the radiologist will ensure your doctor receives test results on a timely basis. If any further diagnostic testing is needed, we look forward to working with your healthcare team.

  • Infertility issues are very personal and unique to each woman or couple. Our radiology team loves getting to know the patients we see and ensuring they feel safe, comfortable, and informed from the moment they walk in the door. We take pride in providing compassionate diagnostic care.
    - Dr. Vincent Della Zazzera

Patient Preparation

Here is what you can expect during each phase of the process, in addition to details on what to bring with you to your appointment at our clinic.

  • Before The Test

    Saline infusion sonography and tubal patency studies are essential tools in the investigation of infertility and other women's health issues. There is not much preparation required for a SIS, though your doctor won't schedule one for you if you may be pregnant.

    To avoid accidentally having the procedure in early pregnancy, we recommend scheduling your appointment after your period ends but before you ovulate. 

    Your doctor may recommend taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen prior to your procedure, but you may want to discuss your options if you have had previous allergic reactions to these or prefer to take a different medication.

    A transvaginal ultrasound is also required before the procedure. For this part of the test, you will need to drink 32 ounces of water before arriving for your appointment. 

    After these images are captured, you will be able to empty your bladder for the SIS portion of the exam.  

  • During The Test

    The ultrasound and tubal patency study will take about 30 to 40 minutes.

    A sterile speculum is placed in the vagina before the cervix and vagina are cleaned with a soap solution. A soft, flexible tube will be passed into the uterus through the cervix (most people feel this minimally or not at all). 

    Post-menopausal women may be provided with medication for ease of this passage. 

    The speculum is then removed and the ultrasound probe is inserted so images of the uterus can be taken. 

    Similar to a transvaginal ultrasound, an SIS has one additional step: sterile saline solution fluid is used to gently expand and hold the walls of your uterus apart so the radiologist can get a better view of the uterine cavity and see any irregularities more clearly. 

    We will also be able to identify whether the uterine cavity is normally shaped, if any fibroids are pressing on the uterine lining or whether there are abnormal tissue growths or polyps. 

    You will not usually feel any pain during the procedure and the test should go quickly, though you may feel slight discomfort similar to cramping or bloating when the fluid is placed in the uterine cavity. 

    After the images are taken, the probe and catheter slip out.

  • After The Test

    When you return to a sitting position following the procedure, lots of water may come out onto the sheet you are sitting on. Many patients wear a pad home to absorb any further dripping. 

    Sometimes, fluid may be pink or blood-tinged due to the uterine lining or walls being disrupted, but this is typically limited. You may experience mild cramps for an hour or two following your procedure. 

    Most women can return to normal activities and work after the procedure but should abstain from sexual intercourse for 48 hours. 

  • Results

    The radiologist will share the results of your scan with the doctor who requested the test. Your doctor can then develop a treatment plan to address your specific case. 

Saline Infusion & Tubal Patency FAQs

Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions about saline infusion and tubal patency at our clinic in Orléans, Ottawa. 

  • Why would I need saline infusion sonography?

    Your doctor will order an SIS for you if you:

    • Are experiencing pelvic pain 
    • Struggle with infertility 
    • Have had two or more consecutive miscarriages 
    • Are suffering from abnormal menstrual cramps 
    • Had inconclusive ultrasound results and more views are required
  • When should saline infusion sonography be scheduled?

    Your SIS procedure should be scheduled between days 4 and 10 of your menstrual cycle, when the endometrium will be at its thinnest and there are no physiologic changes due to the secretory phase of your cycle.

  • Do I need a transvaginal ultrasound before this procedure?

    Having a transvaginal ultrasound completed before your SIS procedure is important for many reasons.

    A transvaginal ultrasound can allow us to identify why you may be experiencing tenderness in your uterus and whether any antibiotics would be required before the procedure.

    If active pelvic inflammatory disease is found, your exam may be rescheduled for a date after you take antibiotics to avoid exacerbating the infection or seeding it in the pelvis. 

    Pre-procedure ultrasounds are also useful screening tools for uterine or ovarian conditions. They can also be used to discover the size and position of the uterus and orientation of the cervix, which may influence how the speculum and catheter are placed during your SIS. 

    Ideally, pre-procedure imaging should be performed by the same person performing the SIS.

    Our highly qualified technologists and radiologists have years of experience in interpreting ultrasounds and SIS results, which can make the difference in a more comfortable procedure, as well as accurate, efficient detection and diagnosis of conditions.

  • What are the benefits and risks of saline infusion sonography?

    Saline infusion sonography is a minimally invasive procedure in that no injections or needles are required. Like other ultrasound procedures, SIS is extremely safe and no radiation is required. 

    With this type of scan, we can capture an excellent view of the uterus and endometrial lining in a relatively short amount of time, allowing us to see uterine abnormalities that may not be visible with transvaginal ultrasound and potentially preventing unnecessary surgery.

    SIS can also ensure that all fibroids and polyps are removed during surgery.

    Similar to other ultrasound procedures, SIS has no known harmful effects on humans.

  • What are common obstacles to a successful saline infusion sonography?

    If you are feeling uncomfortable or anxious during the procedure, let your radiologist know - this can almost always be minimized or prevented at every point along the way. 

    Other obstacles may include the inability to access the cervix or improper positioning (you should be in a semi-upright position). Adequate distention of your endometrial cavity is also critical, and correct positioning of equipment can improve this somewhat. 

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