Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Font Size


How It Is Done continued...

After the dye is put in, a series of X-rays is taken of each section of the arm or leg or pelvis. Your arm or leg may be placed in several different positions so that X-rays from different views can be taken. If your doctor is placing an intravenous (IV) line, X-rays will be taken as the line is put in to help guide it to the correct position.

After the X-rays are taken, your arm or leg will be raised. A sterile salt solution (saline) may be put into the vein to help flush out the dye. Heparin, a blood thinner, may be put into the vein to prevent a blood clot. A small bandage will be placed on the IV site. Drink extra fluids after the test to help flush the dye out of your body.

This test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

How It Feels

You will feel a quick sting or pinch when the numbing medicine is given. When the dye is put into the vein, you may feel a warm flush or have a metallic taste in your mouth.

You may feel like your arm or leg is going to sleep during the test. This goes away after the test.


There is some risk of problems with a venogram.

  • There is a small risk of developing an allergic reaction to the dye.
  • There is a small risk of infection or damage to the veins being studied. In rare cases, a venogram can cause a deep vein thrombosis.
  • There is a risk of kidney problems if you take metformin (Glucophage) to control your diabetes.
  • There is always a slight chance of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the benefits of the test.

After the test

In rare cases, a venogram can cause an infection or a blood clot in the area studied. Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • A fever.
  • Increasing pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg studied.


A venogram is an X-ray test that takes pictures of the blood flow through the veins in a certain area of the body.

Normal test results show that the dye moved quickly and evenly through the veins. Abnormal test results show that the flow of dye was slowed or blocked. This might mean that a blood clot, or another problem such as damage in the vein, is blocking or slowing blood flow.1

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Pregnancy. A venogram is not usually done during pregnancy because the radiation from the X-rays could harm the unborn baby (fetus).
  • The inability to stay still during the test.

Arm or leg venogram

  • Putting any weight on the leg being tested may stop the dye from moving through the leg veins properly.
  • Moving your arm or leg may affect how the dye moves.
  • In rare cases, foot veins are too small to put the dye into for the test.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

Solutions for 19 types.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
oatmeal and eggs
The best and worst for you.
neti pot
6 steps for nasal irrigation.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
woman walking in fog
12 tips for managing your disease.
Healthy Snack
13 delicious options.
Woman running
10 ways to boost your metabolism.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
What are the top ones?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.