Lipiodol

Dr Daniel J Bell et al.

Lipiodol® (also known as ethiodized oil) is an oil-based iodinated contrast medium that was historically used for myelography and hysterosalpingography. It was later superseded by newer, less hazardous, agents, and now is used primarily as a therapeutic agent. Guerbet is now the sole manufacturer of this agent.

Lipiodol comprises a combination of iodine and ethyl esters of poppy seed oil 6. The iodine is intercalated into the constituent fatty acids to produce a mixture of iodostearic and stearic-acid derived esters. The precise structure of Lipiodol has never been characterized 6.

Lipiodol was discovered by Marcel Guerbet and Laurent Lafay in 1901 2. Indeed originally it was marketed as Lipiodol Lafay. It was originally developed as a therapeutic agent - a way to deliver iodine to tissues.

It was first employed in radiology in 1921 by Jean-Athanase Sicard and Jacques Forestier, French radiologists, who developed positive contrast myelography. This supplanted air myelography which had been used until then. Due to complications (e.g. chemical arachnoiditis) Lipiodol was itself superseded by iophendylate.

It was previously marketed as Ethiodol® in the US, but is now globally sold as Lipiodol. 

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Article information

rID: 63272
Section: Radiography
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ethiodised oil
  • Ethiodized oil
  • Ethiodol
  • Lipiodol contrast medium

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