Back to Top Lymphangiogram Scan - The Ottawa Hospital Website scanner for suspicious and malicious URLs


Your doctor has requested a Lymphangiogram scan. This booklet will answer some of the questions you may have. 

What is a Lymphangiogram scan? 

The lymphatic system includes lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph. Lymph vessels carry lymph throughout your body. Lymph is a colorless fluid that helps your body fight infection. This test is performed to detect obstructions in the lymphatic drainage causing swelling in your legs or arms. It is also performed to detect leakage of lymphatic system. 

What is involved? 

You will be given two appointments for your test: 

When you arrive in the department for your first appointment, a technologist will explain the entire procedure to you and then give you the opportunity to ask any questions. The technologist will then ask you to lie on an imaging table to begin the study. With a very fine needle, the technologist will inject a small amount of radioactive tracer in between your toes or fingers. There are no known side effects from this injection. With a special detector, called a gamma camera, images will be taken to see if the lymphatic pathways are functioning properly. A series of images will be taken over the course of one hour. Once these images are completed, you will be given a second appointment to return for delayed imaging 3-4 hours later.  

The second set of imaging will take 20-60 min depending on the indication. Further imaging may also be required. 

The entire procedure will take most of the day. In-between your two appointments, you may eat and drink and are free to leave the department and return later. 

Do I need to prepare for the scan? 

  • Bring your Health card. 
  • No special preparation is required. You will be able to eat, drink and take your medications as usual on the day of your scan.  
  • We would like you to dress in clothing that does not have any metal. Please refrain from wearing any jewelry. Please leave all valuables at home. 
  • Since there may be a few hours waiting time between imaging during this procedure, it may be beneficial to bring some reading material. There is free Wi-Fi available. 
  • Please notify our booking office at the time of scheduling your appointment if you have any concerns regarding claustrophobia, lying still, require a mechanical lift for transfer to the imaging bed, have a language barrier or any other special needs, so that appropriate arrangements can be made ahead to provide you with the best possible care. 

Will it hurt? 

The pinprick of the injection needle may likely hurt. You may also experience a burning sensation as the tracer is injected under the skin. This is normal and usually passes quickly. 

Is the radiation dangerous? 

The injection contains a small amount of radioactive tracer which emits gamma rays (these are similar to X-rays). The radiation dose is very low and will disappear by itself after two days. The results of your scan will give your doctor useful information about your condition and will help them plan your treatment. The benefits of having the scan far outweigh any potential risk from the small radiation dose.  

Do I need to do anything after the scan? 

No special precautions are needed after the scan. If you are travelling across any borders in the seven days after your scan, please ask us for further advice. Border crossings and airports have very sensitive radiation detectors which may pick up tiny amounts of radioactivity remaining after your scan. We will give you a letter that you can show to customs officials at border crossings or airports. 

Is there anything I should tell the staff before the injection? 

Please tell us if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

What about breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding must be interruption of 4 hours after the exam, during which time one milk meal should be pumped and discarded. Prepare for your exam accordingly. 

How will I get the results of my scan? 

A specially trained doctor will examine the pictures. This is normally done soon after the end of the scan. A report is then sent to the doctor who asked us to do the scan. Your doctor will normally receive the report within one week. You will also have access to the report on MyChart as soon as it is released. 

If you have questions about the scan results or report, please contact your doctor directly. They are best able to interpret the report for you. 

Will this test cost me money? 

No. This test is paid for by the healthcare system. The test costs several hundred dollars, so please notify the department at 613-761-4831 if you cannot make your appointment. 

What should I do if I cannot make my appointment? 

If you cannot make you appointment, it is important that you notify the department at 613-761-4831 as soon as possible. Failure to make your appointment results in wasting of expensive materials that are ordered especially for your appointment and also reduces availability to other patients. Missed appointments may also result in delays of your treatments. 

Directions and Parking 

Civic Campus  1053 Carling Avenue – 1st Floor Tel.: 613-761-4831, option 8 Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Directions: From within the Civic Campus, take the “C” elevators to the 1st Floor and follow the signs to Nuclear Medicine. Patients may also ask for directions at the patient information desk. General Campus  501 Smyth Road – Main level Tel.: 613-761-4831, option 8 Hours: Mon. – Fri., 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Directions: From the main entrance, follow the signs on the main level (located at the public elevators). Patients may also ask for directions at the patient Information desk. 
Park in either parking lot off Carling Avenue (P7) or in the multistory parking garage (P1).  Park in the parking garage which is located beside the main entrance just off Smyth Road.  

Parking instructions 

  • All parking lots are automated  
  • Take the parking ticket with you inside.  
  • When you have completed your appointment, you can pay by cash or credit card at one of our pay stations, or you can pay by credit card with express exit at the parking lot exit gates (the grace period after payment to leave facility is 20 minutes). 
  • Payment methods: 
    • Pay stations: Cash or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). 
  • Maximum parking fee is $13.00 

Visit The Ottawa Hospital’s website for additional directions and parking instructions and maps

Last updated on: April 19th, 2022