Before your procedure

  • You will be asked to arrive at Outpatient Services (OPS) at a specified time.
  • If your procedure is being done to detect cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak, you may be asked to have small pieces of cotton placed inside your nasal passages by a doctor that specializes in ear, nose and throat conditions. Sometimes these pledgets may be placed by your doctor in his or her office prior to coming to the hospital. The pledgets, (usually three in each nostril), have a small string attached that will protrude from your nose and are taped to your cheek.
  • Some medications may increase your risk of bleeding after your procedure. Please check with your doctor about possibly holding medications such as aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Ticlid, Pletal, Aggrenox, Plaviz and NSAIDs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen before your procedure. Please hold these medications as directed. You may resume your medication the day after your procedure.

During your procedure

  • A radiologist will use X-ray guidance to place a needle into the area that surrounds your spine.
  • The area chosen will be injected with a numbing medication.
  • The radiologist injects the radioactive tracer. The tracer will take some time to move through the intrathecal space, so you will be taken back to OPS. There you will rest, lying down for about 4 hours.
  • You will then be taken to the Nuclear Medicine department where a camera will be used to detect abnormalities. This scan takes about 60 minutes.
  • You will be scheduled for serial scans starting about 24 hours, 48 hours and possibly 72 hours after your initial scan.
  • Your pledgets will be removed after the 24 hour scan.

After your procedure

  • Prior to discharge from OPS, you will receive instructions regarding your general care.
  • Your cisternogram pictures will be examined by a radiologist and 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.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO