Lower Leg Venography
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Venography is an x-ray test used to study the veins of the body. Lower leg venography is used to study the veins in the legs.
Reasons for Test
This test may be recommended by your doctor in order to:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
People with kidney problems or diabetes, especially those taking metformin, may have a higher risk for complications from venography.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
You may be asked to fast or drink only clear fluids for 4 hours before the test. Tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies, or bad reactions to injected contrast. If you are nervous about the test, your doctor may give you a sedative.
Arrange for someone to drive you home.
Description of Test
You will lie on a tilting x-ray table. You will be cleaned in the area where the catheter will be inserted. A small cut in your skin may be made in that area as well. You may be given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted.
The catheter is inserted into your vein and the contrast is slowly injected. A tight band may be tied around your ankle or your lower body may be tilted. This helps to fill the veins with contrast. You will be asked to remain still as the doctor uses an x-ray machine to view the movement of the contrast through your veins.
The catheter will be removed and a bandage will be put over the site of the injection. In general:
Most people are able to return to normal activities the day after the test.
How Long Will It Take?
The test takes about 30 minutes. This may be longer depending on the specifics of the test.
Will It Hurt?
You may feel some pain at the injection site during the test and soreness for a few days after. Some people feel mild discomfort throughout the body, or nausea as the contrast fills the veins.
A normal venography means that the blood flow through the vein is normal. An abnormal venography means that there is something blocking blood flow through the vein. Based on the results, your doctor will discuss further studies or treatment.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Society of Interventional Radiology
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Venogram. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/cardiovascular/venogram_92,P08295. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Venography. Radiology Info—Radiologic Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=venography. Updated May 1, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 5/2/2014
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