What is a myelogram?

A myelogram is a procedure performed by a radiologist to detect abnormalities of the spinal column. Contrast medium is injected into the fluid-filled space around the spinal cord to detect abnormalities such as spinal cord or nerve root compression.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Prior to the exam you may have a regular liquid breakfast. Proper and complete hydration will help guard against post procedural headaches. A complete list of your current medications and allergies should be prepared so that you can present it to the nursing staff and/or the performing radiologist prior to the procedure. You will need to be seen by the radiology department at least an hour prior to your scheduled procedure.

What will happen during the exam?

Nursing staff will meet with you first to discuss medications and allergies. An intravenous line will be placed into your arm so that mild sedation medication and/or fluids may be administered during the exam if indicated (sedation is not always indicated and is left to the discretion of the administering physician).

Once in the procedure room, scout radiography films will be taken. You will then be placed either on your side or stomach for the procedure.

• Sterilizing antiseptic soap will placed on the area of interest to minimize risk of infection.
• Numbing medication will be injected under the skin.
• A spinal needle will then be advanced to the spinal canal. A small amount of fluid will be collected and sent for laboratory results.
• Contrast medium will be slowly injected into the spinal canal and images will be taken of the area of interest.
• Following removal of the needle, a bandage will be placed over the entry site.
• You will then be transferred to the CT scan department for post procedure imaging.

You will be monitored for 2-4 hours post procedure for complications including headaches.

How long will the procedure take?

The procedure itself takes approximately 30 minutes. However, the total time to explain the procedure, prep the room and patient, and acquire informed consent will lead to an overall total time greater than 1 hour. You will then be monitored for 2-4 hours post procedure for minor complications.

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