Lipiodol flushing is a procedure in which the endometrial cavity and fallopian tubes are flushed with an oily fluid called Lipiodol. This is a contrast medium that has been used for decades (since 1924) to outline the fallopian tubes and uterus, and is derived from poppy seeds.
Recently, there has been renewed interest in the use of Lipiodol in cases of unexplained infertility, with an increased spontaneous pregnancy rate seen in women who have had this procedure performed. No one is sure of how or why this works, but there is speculation that endometrial stimulation or clearing of mucus within the tubes may be the reason.
The procedure is similar to HyCoSy/HSG (hysterosalpingogram). The cervix is cannulated by a doctor with a thin plastic catheter. The Lipiodol is then instilled under ultrasound guidance.
This procedure has to be performed between Days 5 to 10 of the menstrual cycle, to ensure that there is no pregnancy at the time.
Some people find this procedure uncomfortable. It is recommended that you take some paracetamol/NSAID’s an hour prior to your appointment.
Multiple studies/academic papers have been published supporting Lipiodol flushing’s role in fertility treatment. The most recent was published in April 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that Lipiodol flush was more successful than IVF in producing good outcomes in women with Infertility of no known cause.
Western Ultrasound for Women is proud to be the first private ultrasound practice offering Lipiodol Flushing to women in Perth, Western Australia.