What is the role of CT scanning and MRI in the workup of lymphedema?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been advocated by some authors for evaluation of lymphedema. However, these tests can delineate nodal architecture at a greatly increased cost and have been found to have very few advantages over lymphoscintigraphy.

An indication for CT scanning or MRI is suspicion of malignancy, for which these tests offer the most information. In addition, MRI is useful to show lymph trunk anatomy and causes of obstructive secondary lymphedema.


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