A myelogram is an imaging study of the spinal cord, or, more specifically, the spinal canal which houses the various nerves which make up the spinal cord. A myelogram can be of the neck (a cervical myelogram), upper back (a thoracic myelogram), or the lower back (a lumbar myelogram). A myelogram is a thorough way to examine if a bone spur or arthritis is pinching a nerve. It also determines if a disk herniation is present.
A myelogram requires the injection of contrast into the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and nerves that branch off of the spinal cord so that the nerves and spinal cord are outlined by this contrast on diagnostic images and CT scan images. The contrast is injected through a needle placed into the back or the neck using fluoroscopy to guide the needle through small spaces between the bones of the spine to get to the cerebral spinal fluid. After the contrast is injected, the needle is removed and diagnostic and CT images are taken of the section of the spine suspected of causing the problem.
Before the Procedure
It is preferable to have only fluids for 4 hours beforehand. Take your usual medicines except blood thinning agents, e.g., Aspirin, Warfarin. If you have diabetes and are on insulin, or suffer from epilepsy, please contact our Radiology Department to discuss the timing of your exam with us.
After the Procedure
Increase fluid intake and take a mild analgesic such as Tylenol, Motrin, Advil or Aleve for pain or as recommended by your physician.