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Patient Instructions - Myelogram

A myelogram is an X-ray exam in which a contrast agent (X-ray dye) is injected into the spinal canal to visualize the bones, discs, muscles and nerves. A myelogram is used to detect abnormalities of the spine such as disc problems, tumors and bone spurs, narrowing of the spinal canal or malformations of the spine.

Before your Procedure

  • We will be using radiation for this procedure. Please notify your doctor if you are pregnant.

  • Contrast material (X-ray dye) is used during the myelogram. Please notify your doctor if you are allergic to the contrast.

  • Some medications may increase the risk of bleeding after your procedure. Please check with your doctor about possibly holding medications such as aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Ticlid, Pletal, Aggrenox, Plavix and NSAIDS such as naproxen and ibuprofen, before your procedure. Please hold these medications as directed. You may resume your medications the day after your procedure.

  • If you are not on a fluid restriction, drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluid the day before your procedure. Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the exam.

  • You may continue to take your normal medications including pain medication as long as it doesn’t contain aspirin.

  • You will need to arrange for a driver to take you home, because you are not allowed to drive after the procedure. You will be scheduled to arrive in Outpatient Services (OPS) 1 hour before the exam.

During your Procedure

  • You will lie on your stomach on the X-ray table. If you feel you cannot tolerate lying on your stomach for at least 30 minutes, notify your doctor.

  • Your skin is cleaned and a numbing medication will be injected where the spinal needle will be placed. You may feel some pressure in your lower back when the needle is inserted.

  • The contrast (X-ray dye) is injected and the needle is removed.

  • The table is tilted slowly to allow the contrast to reach different levels of the spine. X-rays are taken as the table is tilted at various angles.

  • A CAT scan is performed after the myelogram to obtain images that outline the spinal canal more clearly.

  • The exam itself takes about 1 hour but you will be asked to check in 1 hour before the exam. You will need to stay in the hospital for 3 hours after the myelogram.

After your Procedure

  • You will be observed for 3 hours.

  • Occasionally a headache may develop. To minimize the possibility of a headache after the myelogram, please stay on bedrest. Keep your head slightly elevated until morning.

  • You can be up in a car for the ride home, up for meals and to go to the bathroom.

  • Drink plenty of fluids during the next 24 hours.

  • Notify your doctor of any signs of infection at the puncture site such as redness, swelling and drainage, or fever.

  • Notify your doctor of blurred vision, or a stiff neck.

  • If you become nauseated or are vomiting, check with your doctor before taking any mediation to relieve these symptoms.

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider. 

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