Testing: Lymphangiogram

A lymphangiogram is a type of X-ray taken of the lymphatic system using a special contrast agent to enhance the image. The invention of the /tests/ct.html ">CT scan, the gallium scan, the MRI and the PET scan have rendered this method of diagnosis obsolete.

The lymphangiogram starts when the technician numbs the patient's foot. A small incision is made between the toes and the contrast agent, or "dye", is injected into the lymph system. The dye travels up the leg and into the lymph vessels of the groin and abdomen. X-rays are then taken.

Patients should be aware that the dye might be uncomfortable and cause a mild burning sensation. The vessels of the foot may also turn visibly blue, as that is the color of the dye.

After the X-rays are taken, the incision is closed. Dressings should be properly applied so that the cut stays clean. Patients may have blue or green colored urine in the days following the scan, but this is not a bad sign.

The dye will last from 6 months to 2 years, which means that repeated X-rays can be taken to monitor lymphoma without repeating the full procedure.

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