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clear spacerDiagnostic Tests & Imaging

Myelogram

A myelogram is a special X-ray examination of your spinal cord, spinal canal and the areas surrounding these structures. A special dye, called a contrast material, is injected into your spinal canal through a needle so that the area being studied will show up more clearly on the X-rays. A myelogram can identify abnormalities of your spinal cord, spinal anal and spinal nerves. Your doctor might want to use this test when other imaging procedures, such as a CT scan or MRI, have not provided enough information for an accurate diagnosis of your problem.

What to expect during your test or treatment

  • Your technologist will take you to a special room where the pictures will be taken.
  • You should empty your bladder at this time so you will be comfortable during your test.
  • Before the test, you will receive some medicine to help you relax, but you will be awake for the test.
  • Your nurse may start an IV if the radiologist or physician performing the exam thinks medication may need to be given.
  • Your technologist will position you on your stomach on a special table that can be tilted up and down as necessary during your myelogram.
  • Depending on the area of your spine being studied, your technologist will clean your lower back or neck with a sterile solution of iodine.
  • The physician will then inject a numbing medication into your neck or back with a small needle.
  • Your radiologist will carefully place a needle into your spinal canal using X-ray guidance.
  • The contrast material will then be injected through the needle, and a series of X-rays will be taken.
  • During the test, the table will tilt up and down to move the contrast medium through your body to different areas of the spinal canal.
  • During or after the test, you may experience a headache, nausea or mild discomfort. If so, you will be given medication to help relieve these symptoms.
  • The myelogram usually takes 30 to 90 minutes to complete.

What to expect after your test or treatment

  • After your test, you will be taken to a comfortable room to recover.
  • The head of your bed will be raised 30 to 40 degrees to lessen your headache and to keep you from feeling dizzy or faint.
  • You will remain in the recovery room for three to four hours, and then you will be free to go home.
  • The radiologist will study the X-rays and send a complete report to your doctor.
  • Your doctor will schedule a time to discuss the results of your test with you.

Returning home
If you have any questions after returning home, please contact your physician.

Thank you again for choosing Norton Healthcare imaging services. It is a pleasure to serve you.

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