Lower limb lymphoscintigraphy patterns among patients with lower limb lymphedema: a pictorial essay

Document Type



Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


Purpose: Lymphoscintigraphy is the imaging of choice in diagnosis of lymphedema. Diagnosis is made on the basis of qualitative assessment of tracer distribution at specifed time points. A sound knowledge of the anatomy and function of the lymphatic system combined with understanding of tracer propagation and distribution through the lymphatic system is necessary for accurate diagnosis of lymphedema.

Technique and image fndings: Lymphoscintigraphy at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) is performed by intradermal injection of Tc 99m nanocolloid with planar imaging performed at 5, 15 min and 1½ h for reproducibility. Images are analyzed mainly by qualitative parameters that relate to tracer kinetics within the lymphatic system. We describe diferent image appearances which represent the various patterns of tracer distribution in normal lymphatics and with lymphedema.

Conclusion: Lymphoscintigraphy is a highly accurate and reproducible technique for the evaluation of the lymphedema. A thorough knowledge of the various imaging appearances on lymphoscintigraphy is necessary for proper interpretation of images. Addition of quantitative parameters would increase the accuracy.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Clinical and Translational Imaging