What Is a Contrast Extravasation?
Contrast extravasation is a problem that occurs when contrast dye leaks into the tissue around the vein where the IV was placed. Sometimes, during a computed tomography scan (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI), contrast dye will be put into your vein with an IV needle so your veins and arteries show up more clearly on the scan.
Research shows that contrast extravasation is a rare problem occurring in less than 1% of patients. The American College of Radiology has looked into what increases the chances of extravasation. Some examples include giving a large amount of contrast or having veins that are easily broken (also called brittle veins).
We will do our best to prevent this problem from happening. While you are having your CT or MRI scan, a staff member will stay with you so that extravasation can be detected early and, if necessary, stop the injections. Even with careful placement of the IV and extra precautions, extravasations can still happen.