Venogram - leg

What is a Venogram?

A venogram is an imaging test that uses X-rays to see how blood flows through the veins in the legs. It is often used to diagnose blood clots that can lead to further health problems such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Venograms are usually done for the lower extremities, but the technique may also be used in other parts of the body.

Preparation for a Venogram of the Leg

Before a venogram of the leg is performed, the doctor will usually ask the patient to fast for a few hours before the procedure. The patient should also wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and bring any medication they are taking. For example, if the patient is taking a blood thinning medication, the doctor may ask them to stop taking the medication for a few days before the venogram.

Procedure of Venogram

During the procedure, contrast dye is injected into the leg veins, and X-rays are taken of the dye as it travels through them. This procedure is generally done in a radiology department, and the patient should be lying down on a table while the procedure is being performed. The doctor may use local anesthetic to numb the area where the dye will be injected.

The actual procedure usually takes about 30-60 minutes. Once the X-rays are taken, a radiologist (a doctor who specializes in interpreting X-rays) will interpret the images. The results of the venogram will then be reported to the doctor that ordered the test.

Types of Venogram

There are two main types of venograms:

  • Injectable - This is when contrast dye is injected directly into a vein. This type of venogram can give the most detailed image of the veins in the body.
  • Non-injectable - This type of venogram does not involve contrast dye, and instead, uses ultrasound to look at the veins. This type of venogram is usually done on people who cannot receive contrast dye for medical reasons.

Potential Risks of Venograms

The most common risks associated with venogram are localized pain and bruising at the injection site. Other potential risks of the procedure include: allergic reaction to the contrast dye, infection, nerve damage, and kidney damage. Most of these risks are extremely rare.

Why is a Venogram Done?

Venograms are generally done to diagnose blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or other areas of the body. A venogram can be used to find blockages, narrowing, or tears in the veins, as well as to detect any blood clots that could lead to a deep vein thrombosis. Venograms can also be used to diagnose pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.

When is a Venogram Used?

Venogram is commonly used if a patient is experiencing symptoms that might indicate a deep vein thrombosis, such as pain, swelling, or tenderness in the leg. Venograms can also be used to detect any underlying venous disorders, such as congestive heart failure or cirrhosis of the liver. Additionally, venograms can be used to track the progress of treatment for a venous disorder.