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Myelogram

A myelogram is a special X-ray of the spinal cord and spinal column.

Preparation For Your Exam

Do not eat any solid foods after 9 pm on the evening before your procedure. You may have clear liquids until three hours before your appointment.

You may take your routine medications on the day of the procedure.

If back pain is a problem for you, you may take your usual pain medication in preparation for the procedure.

If you are having the procedure as an outpatient, make arrangements for someone to drive you home after the procedure. You may not drive yourself home.

During the Exam

When you arrive in the radiology department, you will be placed on your stomach on the X-ray table. If you think that this position will be difficult for you, please let us know. (A myelogram takes about an hour to complete.)

A small area on your back will be washed and a local anesthetic will be injected to make the area numb. Next, a needle will be placed into the area near your spine.

A special X-ray dye known as "contrast" will be injected through the needle into the area around the spinal column, so as to highlight the structures in that area. You may notice a heaviness or pressure when the dye is injected. Dizziness and nausea are rare, but please let us know if you are uncomfortable.

After the dye is injected, the X-rays will be taken. When the exam is finished, you will be taken across the hall for a CT scan. The CT scan takes about twenty minutes to complete.

After the Exam

Once your CT scan has been completed, you will be placed in a bed with the head of the bed up, where you will recover for about two hours. During this time, you may eat and drink as you like. You will be encouraged to drink lots of fluids. The nurse will provide you with a bedpan or urinal if necessary.

You may move about in bed, or visit with your family. Be sure to let your nurse know if you experience a headache, backache, or leg pain.

How do I care for myself at home?

When you are discharged, you must travel with a companion and may not drive. When you arrive home, we suggest that you rest and limit your activity. If you have small children, arrange for someone to care for them.
If you have a headache, take two Tylenol tablets (325 mg each) every four hours as needed. If a headache or nausea persists, contact your personal physician.

Getting Your Results

Your primary-care physician will discuss the results with you.