The capability of the interstitial magnetic resonance lymphography (MR-LG) using a widely available extracellular contrast agent, gadopentetate dimeglumine, for the visualization of normal and interrupted lymphatic drainage was tested in dog legs.
Materials and methods
With a 7-day interval, 1 mL and 2 mL undiluted gadopentetate dimeglumine were injected intradermally into the dorsal foot of both hind legs of 12 dogs. T1-weighted 3-dimensional (3D) spoiled gradient-echo (repetition time/echo time = 6.7/1.6 ms) and maximum intensity projection (MIP) images covering the legs and pelvic region were acquired at 1.5 T for 10 minutes after 30 seconds gentle massage at the injection sites. These dogs also underwent the MR-LG with 2 mL of this contrast agent 7 days after surgical ligation of the popliteal lymphatic vessels.
In the normal dogs, the interstitial MR-LG quickly and consistently visualized the direct connection of the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes draining from the injection sites up to the inguinal region, without any late adverse effects. The enhancement effect was significantly greater with a 2-mL dose than with a 1-mL dose. After lymphatic obstruction, the MR-LG clearly revealed the anatomic compromises of the lymphatics, such as poor enhancement of the affected lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, collateral lymphatic vessels, abnormal soft-tissue enhancement, and delayed lymphatic migration of the contrast agent. The topographic 3D images provided a comprehensive anatomy of these normal and compromised lymphatic drainage.
Although gadopentetate dimeglumine is not lymphotropic, the interstitial MR-LG using this T1-contrast agent appears to have potential for quick and sufficient mapping of the lymphatic drainage from the injection sites and for the characterization of interrupted lymph flow.