About your Myelogram…

Your doctor has requested that you have a myelogram. Please read the following description of
the test, and what you need to do both before and after the exam.
What is a myelogram?
A myelogram is a test performed to evaluate the spine. The myelogram is performed by the
radiologist, with the use of x-ray during the test. In most cases, you will be asked to lie on your
stomach, while the radiologist (MD) or technologist cleans the lower back. Numbing medicine
will be injected into the skin at the needle placement site. With x-ray guidance, the radiologist
will place a needle into the spinal canal, into the fluid column that contains the spinal cord and its
nerves. Once the needle is positioned, a small volume of x-ray dye is injected slowly. The
needle is then removed and x-rays are taken. A CT scan is usually performed within 30 minutes
to an hour.
Will the test hurt?
Lidocaine used to “numb” the skin will sting as it is injected. After this, most people feel
“pressure” in the back as the needle is placed in the spinal canal. Some will experience pain as
the needle passes between the vertebrae of the spine. Injection of the x-ray dye may cause
transient tingling or numbness in the legs or a feeling of “heaviness”.
Before the test
Please tell your doctor and notify Radiology Scheduling if you are allergic to x-ray dye. If you
are allergic to x-ray dye, please inform your physician. Your physician will need to prescribe an
overnight medication of steroids. Drink plenty of fluids the night before and the day of the test.
Please limit diet to clear liquids within 6 hours of your study. Please inform Radiology
scheduling if you are taking Glucophage, Glucovance, Glycon, Avandamet, Metaglip, Coumadin,
insulin, Aspirin, or Plavix. (See following instructions related to these medications). Other
routine medications may be taken the same morning. The Radiology scheduling number is
(704) 783-1729.
After the myelogram
You will be placed on a stretcher with your head elevated 30 degrees during recovery. You may
have food and drink as tolerated. When you go for your CT scan you will lie flat. Average
recovery time is 2 hours. Once you are stable, you will be allowed to leave. You will NOT be
allowed to drive home, so please arrange for someone to take you home. To minimize the risk of
having a headache, bed rest is recommended for the remainder of the day.
What are the Risks?
The most common side effect is a headache. Headaches during and immediately after the test are
usually mild, controlled with over-the-counter medications. If you experience severe headaches
1 – 2 days after the myelogram further treatment may be required, but is uncommon when bed
rest is followed. Dizziness, nausea and vomiting may occur during the myelogram, but are
uncommon. Bleeding in the spinal canal and nerve injury are extremely uncommon. Seizures
can occur during the myelogram, but are very rare. If you experience any of these symptoms,
please call your physician. You will be asked to sign a consent form before the test. The
radiologist will answer any questions you may have before they begin your procedure.
Once the exam is completed, the radiologist will study the images and dictate a report. After
reviewing your films, a written report will be sent to your doctor (the one who ordered your
exam). Please allow a few days for your doctor’s office to contact you with the results.
Do not take for 48 hours (2 days) AFTER the test. Contact your doctor about having blood drawn to check your kidney function before resuming the Needs to be stopped 5 days prior to myelogram. Patient has PT drawn the day before. If patient cannot come in the day before for labs, they must take 1 PM appoint- ment time and come in early to have blood drawn the Needs to be stopped 5 days prior to myelogram. Risk of bleeding related to one aspirin per day is considered minimal. For an elective procedure, with- holding aspirin 5 days prior to the test is recommended. Take ½ of dose the day of the exam IF blood sugar is
greater than 100. If less than 100, take NO insulin.


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