A myelogram is a diagnostic examination of the spine performed in The Spine Hospital of Louisiana. The outpatient procedure allows your physician to identify problems involving the spine, the spinal cord, and the nerve roots.
what to expect
Once arriving for your myelogram, the technician will help you lie down on the x-ray table, and will help move your clothing in order to expose the lower back. Your lower back will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution before your physician injects a local anesthetic to numb the tissue of the back. This will feel like a bee sting. You will feel some pressure as the physician carefully inserts and guides a needle down to your spinal column. You may feel some discomfort as the need is guided into your spine.
When the needle is positioned correctly, the physician will inject a contrast dye into your spine. This dye will mix with the spinal fluid and flow through the spinal canal. It is normal for the dye to may make you feel hot or flushed and leave a metallic taste in your mouth. You will then be required to lie still as the physician injects the dye.
Once the needle is removed, a radiology technologist will capture some x-rays of your spine in various seated and standing positions. After the x-rays are completed, you will be transferred on a stretcher to the Cat Scan Department for a CT to capture additional images of your spine and to complete your myelogram.
A myelogram typically takes 30-60 minutes to complete.
BEFORE YOUR EXAM:
Please arrive 1 HOUR AND 30 MIN BEFORE your scheduled myelogram and make sure to bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
- STOP taking certain medications (aspirin, anti-inflammatories, blood thinners) as directed by your physician. Click here for a list of medications you cannot take before your procedure
- Enjoy a light meal before your procedure
- Wear comfortable clothing (i.e. pants with an elastic waistband.)
- Arrange for a driver that will be able to take you to the hospital, remain on site for your entire procedure, and bring you home. Failure to meet these transportation requirements could result in the cancellation of your procedure.
- If you have undergone an imaging exam at another facility, bring any CT or MRI images with you
Please alert your physician if you are allergic to IV contrast, iodine, or betadine. You CAN NOT have a myelogram if you have an illness or are running fever.
AFTER YOUR EXAM:
When your myelogram is complete, the injection site will be covered with a small bandage. For 24 hours after your myelogram:
- Stay in bed, on your couch, or in a recliner with your head elevated—DO NOT LIE FLAT. Try not to get up unless you need to eat, drink, or use the restroom.
- No bending, stooping, or heavy lifting.
- DO NOT apply heat to the injection site. Ice packs only.
You may experience a slight headache, nausea, or vomiting after your procedure. If a headache lasts longer than 2-3 days, or if you develop a fever of 101 degrees or greater, contact the physician who ordered your myelogram. Be sure to schedule a follow-up visit with your physician to review your results.