Effect of lymphangiography on lymphedema

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1981 Dec;68(6):922-6. doi: 10.1097/00006534-198112000-00013.


Lymphangiography, using oily radiopaque Lipiodol Ultra Fluid has been shown to increase lymphedema in one-third of the patients with obstructive lymphedema and to cause lymphatic obliteration (demonstrated histologically). No effective element has been observed, although subclinical infection could not be ruled out. Allergy is another possible contributor, but the evidence from this series suggests that Lipiodol may act as a direct irritant when it is not rapidly cleared, as in the case of obstructive lymphedema, and proceed to obliteration of the residual lymphatics. On the basis of these findings, elective routine preoperative lymphangiography for lymphedema is considered strongly inadvisable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodized Oil / adverse effects*
  • Lymphangitis / chemically induced
  • Lymphatic System / pathology
  • Lymphedema / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphedema / pathology
  • Lymphography / adverse effects*


  • Iodized Oil