Understanding Venogram

By Semko, Laura 
October 07, 2017

Understanding Venogram

A venogram is a type of imaging procedure. It uses X-rays and a special dye to look at veins in your body. The dye is called a contrast material. An X-ray is a picture of the inside of your body. Low levels of radiation create the image.

Why a venogram is done

A venogram is often done to find blood clots in the veins. It can help diagnose deep vein thrombosis. That’s when blood clots occur in a deep vein, often in your legs. It is also done to find other problems related to the veins. These include varicose veins, a vein defect, or the narrowing of a vein.

How a venogram is done

This procedure is often done on an outpatient basis. That means you can go home afterward. During the procedure:

  • You will lie down on an exam table. The table may tilt to help the dye move through your body.

  • You may be given medicine so you don’t feel any pain.

  • A healthcare provider will put a catheter, or needle, into one of your veins. The location depends on which body part is being X-rayed.

  • He or she will inject the dye into your vein.

  • X-rays are taken as the dye moves through your body.

  • You may be asked to hold your breath during the procedure.

Risks of a venogram

  • Pain

  • Blood clots

  • Allergy to the dye

  • Kidney problems


October 07, 2017


Gillespie DL, et al. Venography. In: Cronenwett JL, editor. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8 ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2014. p. 307-24., Grant BJB. Diagnosis of suspected deep vein thrombosis of the lower extremity. Up To Date. February 2 ed: Up To Date; 2015. p. 27., Zhang S, et al. Varicose Veins: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment. Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2014 June 1;10(6):417-24.

Reviewed By:  

Grossman, Neil, MD,Ziegler, Olivia, MS, PA