In This Page:
- Need to Know
- Nice to Know
- How Does It Work?
- What Happens — Before, During, and After?
- How Should I Prepare?
- What Should I Bring?
- What Are the Benefits and Risks?
A hernia occurs when a section of bowel pushes through a weakness, tear, or opening in the muscle wall of the abdomen. In most cases, it can be found by physical exam. When it cannot be found that way, you may need a herniogram. For this test, contrast dye is injected into the muscles through a small needle. X-rays are then taken to see if you have a hernia.
Need to Know
Nice to Know
How Does It Work?
X-ray contrast diluted with sterile saline is injected to outline the peritoneal cavity and in turn any possible hernia.
What Happens — Before, During, and After?
A clinical staff member will bring you into the pre-procedure area and ask you to change into a gown. Your doctor will greet you, review the procedure, and answer any questions you may have. You will be brought into the procedure room, and you‘ll be positioned on the procedure table. Fluoroscopic Imaging (x-ray) is used to guide insertion of a thin needle into the peritoneal cavity. This is the space that surrounds your bowel and other internal organs. A safe path is planned and the entry site marked. Your skin will be cleansed to create sterile conditions and a local anaesthetic is then injected. It is important that you try to keep as still as possible during the procedure.
Your doctor will then position a needle within the peritoneal cavity. X-ray contrast diluted with sterile saline is then injected to outline the peritoneal cavity and in turn any possible hernia. Both sides of the body will be examined by the single injection. Not infrequently the needle position may need to be adjusted slightly to ensure the contrast can be injected into the best location. Once the injection is completed, the needle is removed and x-rays are then taken.
How Should I Prepare?
There are things you can do to make your experience more comfortable, and many of these will depend on your individual preferences. You might like to keep a list of questions or – as you’re doing now- educate yourself about the procedure.
Another important part of your preparation will be guided by your doctor:
- Your doctor may ask you to stop taking aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), or blood thinners (such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, Fragmin) for a time before the procedure.
Some of your preparation will need to be timed to the procedure:
- The day before the procedure (or the Friday before, if you’re scheduled for a Monday procedure), a clinical staff member from the Interventional Radiology Department will call you. The clinical staff member will give you any additional instructions, and will ask if you have any questions.
- Take your medications as instructed
- When you arrive, make sure the clinical staff member and radiologist know about any allergies you may have, especially allergies to local anesthetics (such as lidocaine), general anesthetics, or x-ray dye (contrast media). If there’s any chance you might be pregnant, tell your radiologist.
What Should I Bring?
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Avoid bringing jewelry or valuables
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of Herniogram include:
- You can be provided with confirmation of a hernia
Risks you should be aware of include:
- Like any catheterization procedure, there is risk of damage to blood vessels, bruising, bleeding, or infection at the puncture site
- You will receive a small dose of x-ray radiation. Allergy to the contrast is rare, particularly severe or life threatening allergy.
- You must inform us if you have had a previous allergy to x-ray contrast
Keep in mind that this information is general. Your radiologist is the best source of information about how these risks and benefits may apply to you.