Fluoroscopy - Sialogram

What is a Sialogram?

A sialogram is the fluoroscopic evaluation of the salivary glands after the injection of a dye-like contrast material.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

A sialogram is performed to identify the presence of abnormalities or stones within the salivary glands.  Patients who undergo this procedure often complain of persistent pain in the area of the associated salivary gland.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

No special preparation is necessary before a sialogram.   Food and fluid intake do not need to be restricted.

Once you arrive, you will be asked to remove any metal jewelry that could show up on the images.

Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.

What does the equipment look like?

You will be positioned on an exam table.  Above you will be a box-like structure containing the x-ray tube and fluoroscopic equipment that will send images to a screen in the exam room.

How does the procedure work?

A radiologist will monitor the flow of a dye-like contrast material into the salivary gland with a fluoroscope, a device that projects radiographic images in real time onto a screen in the exam room.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be positioned lying down on an exam table.  A radiologist will use lemon juice and small metal dilators to open the duct leading into the salivary gland.  Then, a small catheter will be inserted into the duct, and a small amount of a dye-like contrast material will be used to fill the gland.  Still images will be taken.

The exam is usually completed within 30-45 minutes.

What will I experience during the procedure?

You will taste the sourness of the lemon juice used to open the duct leading into the salivary gland.  You may experience some discomfort as the small metal dilators and the catheter are inserted into the duct.  Some discomfort may also be experienced as a result of lying on the exam table, a hard surface that is typically quite cold.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A radiologist will interpret the images, and a signed report will be sent to your physician who will discuss the results with you.