What is a myelogram?
A myelogram is an x-ray in which the doctor injects a special substance called a "contrast medium" into the space of the spinal canal.
What is a contrast medium?
This is a liquid that shows up on the x-ray film and outlines the space that holds the spinal cord. The test helps the doctor see if there are any problems in this space.
Will I be able to eat or drink?
The nurse will tell you when to stop eating and drinking. This usually includes the meal before the test. When you return to your room, your meal will be served.
Is the test painful?
Depending upon your own physician's orders, you will be given medication to help you relax, either oral medication or an injection before you go to the Radiology Department. You may be uncomfortable during the test. You must lie still on the table as it is turned and tilted to allow the contrast medium to flow into all of the spaces. The doctor will use a very small needle to deaden the area before inserting a spinal needle into the spinal canal. The contrast medium is injected into the canal through this needle.
What happens in the Radiology Department?
You will be asked to lie on your stomach. There will be braces over your shoulders to hold you in place as the table is tilted up or down. Several x-rays will be taken.
What happens when I have finished the myelogram procedure?
You will be taken back to your room and the nurse will check you and order your diet. It is important that you drink large amounts of fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
Can I get up and move around in my room?
No. You will be asked to stay in bed for a certain time after you return to your room. The doctor chooses the type of contrast medium to be used, and this determines your activities after the test. The nurse will tell you about your bed rest period.
If you have Omnipaque or Isovue for contrast medium, you will need to keep your head elevated at least 30-45 degrees for a 24 hour period.