The binding of technetium-99m sulfur colloid to in vivo thrombi was studied in a rat model of deep vein thrombosis. After thrombosis was induced by mechanical traumatization of a right femoral vein segment, technetium-99m sulfur colloid was injected into the peripheral veins of different experimental groups at intervals of 30 min and 1-7 days. Ratios of mean activity in traumatized right femoral vein segment to activity in control segments of left femoral vein (R/L ratios) ranged form 2.97-11.0 for all in situ venous thrombi studied. There was no relation between clot size and R/L ratios. The significant uptake ratios observed by us for venous thrombi up to 1 wk in age suggest that in vivo thrombus detection may be feasible by imaging with a gamma camera after technetium-99m sulfur colloid injection in a peripheral vein.