Lymphography; Lymphangiography

A lymphangiogram is a special x-ray of the lymph nodes and lymph vessels. Lymph nodes produce white blood cells (lymphocytes) that help fight infections. The lymph nodes also filter and trap cancer cells.

The lymph nodes and vessels are not seen on a normal x-ray, so a dye or radioisotope (radioactive compound) is injected into the body to highlight the area being studied.

Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).


A lymphangiogram is used to evaluate the possible spread of cancers and the effectiveness of cancer therapy. The X-rays may also help determine the cause of swelling in an arm or leg and check for parasitic diseases. The test is performed by injecting blue dye into an area to be tested. The blue dye helps to locate the lymphatic vessels where the catheter will be placed. Once the lymph vessels are found, contrast medium is injected through the catheter and X-rays are taken to monitor its progress as it spreads through the lymph system up the legs, into the groin, and along the back of the abdominal cavity. The next day, another set of X-rays is taken.

How the Test is Performed

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

What Abnormal Results Mean