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Venography is a study of the veins in your body. It shows how blood flows in your veins. X-ray dye, also called contrast medium, is injected into your veins. This helps your blood vessels show up clearly on X-ray pictures. X-rays of your veins are then taken.

Outline of human figure showing veins. Veins are vessels that carry blood throughout the body and to the heart.

Before your procedure

Follow any instructions you are given on how to get ready. This includes any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

Tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • Are allergic to X-ray dye or other medicines

Tell your provider about any medicines you are taking. You may need to stop taking all or some of these before the test. This includes:

  • All prescription medicines

  • Over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen

  • Street drugs

  • Herbs, vitamins, and other supplements

During your procedure

  • You will change into a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table.

  • An area of skin over the insertion site will be cleaned. Medicine may be put on the skin to numb it.

  • An IV orintravenous line is put into a vein in the prepared area.

  • X-ray dye is injected through the IV into the vein.

  • A band or tourniquet may be put on your arm or leg. This controls the speed of blood flow.

  • You will be asked to keep still while X-rays are taken. The provider will tell you when you can move.

  • The IV will be removed. The insertion site will be bandaged.

After your procedure

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush the X-ray dye out of your body.

  • Care for the insertion site as directed.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have fever or redness, pain, or swelling at the insertion site.

Possible risks and complications

All procedures have some risk. Possible risks of venography include:

  • Infection or bruising around the catheter insertion site

  • Problems because of X-ray dye. These include allergic reaction or kidney damage.

  • Exposure to X-ray radiation. This is usually kept to a low and safe level.

  • Inflammation of the vein, called phlebitis

  • Blood clotting occurs, or gets worse (also called DVT or deep vein thrombosis)

  • Skin damage because of fluid leaking from the insertion site


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