Advice Sheet Following Extravasation of Radiographic Contrast Material

  • Reference Number: HEY-361/2015
  • Departments: Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy Department

As part of your Radiotherapy planning CT scan we were required to use an injection of contrast media (dye) into one of your veins. Sometimes during this procedure an extravasation (leak) may occur. This occurs when the contrast material (dye) used to optimise your treatment planning scan leaks out of the vein into the surrounding tissue. When this happened you may have felt some pain or tightening around the injection site.

This sheet aims to explain what you may see / feel and what you should do. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your doctor. If after reading it you require further explanation please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

You will have been observed for two hours after the extravasation occurs and a pressure bandage may have been applied. Before you leave the department a doctor will explain what has happened and what further signs to look out for.

For the next three days please note the following instructions:

  • Keep the arm elevated when possible
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic drinks
  • Take paracetamol (unless you are allergic to it) for any localised pain
  • Apply a cold compress up to three times a day to the site

If you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blistering over the injection site / Any significant change in skin colour
  • Increase/ decrease of skin temperature at the site (compared with the temperature of your skin elsewhere)
  • Numbness in your fingers
  • Hardness at the injection site which is still present after three days

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this sheet or ongoing symptoms please contact: The Radiotherapy Nurses (01482) 461134 or Radiotherapy Patient Information (01482) 461206 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm). Out of hours and/or weekends/ bank holidays please contact your local Emergency Department.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you.  For further information visit Confidential Information about You

If you or your carer needs information about your health and well-being and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.