A myelogram uses X-rays and a special dye to make pictures of bones and nerves of the spine (spinal canal). The spinal canal holds the spinal cord, the spinal nerve roots, and the fluid-filled space between the bones in your spine.
A myelogram is done to check for:
Your doctor will tell you if you need to change how much you eat and drink before the myelogram. You may be asked to increase the amount of water you drink before the test. Follow the instructions your doctor gives you about eating and drinking.
Before a myelogram, tell your doctor if:
Ask someone to take you home and stay with you after the test.
The dye is put into your spinal canal with a thin needle. This is called a lumbar puncture. The dye moves through the space so the nerve roots and spinal cord can be seen more clearly. After the dye is put in, you will lie still while the X-ray pictures are taken.
You will feel a quick sting from a small needle that has medicine to numb the skin on your back. You will also feel some pressure as the long, thin spinal needle is put into your spinal canal. You may feel a quick sharp pain down your buttock or leg when the needle is moved in your spine. The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and have a metallic taste in your mouth.
In rare cases, the hole made by the needle in the sac around the spine does not close normally. This can allow spinal fluid to leak out. This leak may need to be repaired through a procedure called an epidural blood patch. To do the patch, your doctor injects some of your own blood to cover the hole.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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