What is a Lymphangiogram?

A lymphangiogram is an imaging procedure that uses an X-ray technique and a water-soluble contrast dye to show the structure and possible blockages in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system plays an important role in the body’s immune system, so a lymphangiogram can help identify potential problems such as blockages due to tissue damage, tumors, or other abnormalities.


Prior to a lymphangiogram, your physician may recommend any of the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Urine tests
  • X-rays/CT scans
  • Ultrasounds


The procedure for a lymphangiogram is as follows:

  • Step 1: An intravenous line will be inserted into your arm or leg to administer the contrast dye.
  • Step 2: X-ray imaging will be done to check that the dye has been properly injected into the lymphatic system.
  • Step 3: Images will be taken of the lymphatic system to generate the lymphangiogram.
  • Step 4: Once the images are obtained, the contrast dye and intravenous line will be removed.


There are two types of lymphangiogram:

  • Conventional lymphangiogram: This uses a contrast dye that is injected directly into a lymphatic channel such as a lymph node.
  • Cine lymphangiogram: This is a type of imaging that is done while the contrast dye is injected and is used to create a dynamic picture of the lymphatic system.


The risks associated with a lymphangiogram are rare, but could include:

  • Allergic reaction to the contrast dye
  • Bruising at the injection site
  • Infection
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Changes in blood pressure or heart rate

Why Have a Lymphangiogram?

A lymphangiogram is typically performed to detect any blockages or abnormalities in the lymphatic system. This may be due to any of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Infection
  • Tissue damage from injury or surgery
  • Infectious diseases

When to Get a Lymphangiogram?

Your doctor may recommend getting a lymphangiogram if you have any symptoms that may indicate a blockage in the lymphatic system, such as swelling in the arms or legs. A lymphangiogram may also be used to diagnose other conditions of the lymphatic system and to verify the results of other imaging tests.