The doctor has ordered an MRI to look at the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is made up of the lymph nodes and small channels that connect the lymph nodes. Lymph is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system.

The exam will show the doctor your lymphatic system and any problems you may have (i.e., blockages, leaks, abnormal anatomy, abnormal flow of lymph).

An MRI is a long tube that uses magnets and radio waves to create images. The length of the exam is about 45 minutes for imaging and 45 minutes to prepare for imaging.

Before the Procedure

  • Tell the staff if you have any allergies.

  • You may eat or drink as normal unless directed not to for anesthesia.

  • Bring your insurance card.

  • You should arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

MRI Procedure

  • You will go to a prep room outside the MRI scanner.

  • A doctor will discuss the procedure and answer any questions.

  • You will sign a consent form.

  • They will then use an ultrasound to examine the groin area on both sides to look for the inguinal lymph nodes.

  • Once lymph nodes in both groins have been found, they will clean and prepare the area.

  • Lidocaine is injected for local anesthesia.

  • Using an ultrasound guide, a very small needle will be placed into a lymph node on both sides.

  • The needles will be secured with a dressing.

  • You will be taken to the MRI scanner.

  • Some initial images are done.

  • Contrast will be injected into the lymph nodes and more images are taken.

  • After, the needles will be removed, and dressings applied.

Side Effects

  • Pain at the needle entry sites.

  • Minimal bruising at needle entry sites.

After the Exam

  • Dressings can be removed in 24 hours.

  • Monitor the sites for any bleeding, infection, swelling or bruising.

  • You may resume your normal activities.


The radiologist may be able to tell you some results. A full report will be entered into your chart and will be available to you and your doctors.


  • Allergic reaction from contrast dye.

  • Minimal pain at injection site.

Who to Call

If you have any questions or concerns, please call:

Interventional Radiology Clinic
(608) 263-9729, prompt 3.
Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

After hours, weekends, and holidays, please call: (608) 262-2122.

This will give you the paging operator. Ask for the Interventional Radiology Resident on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.