A sialogram is an x-ray of the salivary ducts and glands.
The salivary glands are located on each side of the face and send saliva into the mouth.
How the test is performed
The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technician. You may be given a sedative before the procedure.
You will be asked to lie on your back on the x-ray table. An x-ray is taken before the contrast material is injected to ensure that no stones are present to stop the contrast material from entering the ducts.
A catheter (a small flexible tube) will be inserted through your mouth and into the duct of the salivary gland. A contrast medium in then injected into the duct so that the duct will show up on the x-ray. X-rays will be taken from a number of positions.
You may be given lemon juice by mouth to help stimulate the production of saliva. Pictures are repeated to examine the drainage of the saliva into the mouth.
How to prepare for the test
Tell the health care provider if you are:
Allergic to x-ray contrast material or any iodine substance
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.