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About Your Myelogram

What is a Myelogram?
A myelogram is a contrast (dye) enhanced x-ray of the fluid-filled sac surrounding your spinal cord and nerve roots.
Why Is It Done?
A myelogram is performed to evaluate the spine for a possible cause of back pain.  This procedure will help your doctor rule out or identify problems that a traditional x-ray cannot.
What Preparation is Needed?
  1. Your doctor or a Radiologist (a physician who specializes in x-ray medicine) will explain the exam to you.
  2. Tell the doctor if you have any allergies or history of reactions to contrast media (dye).
  4. You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives the doctor permission to perform the myelogram.
  5. Do not take any Tricyclics, MOA's or Phenothiazines medication 48 hours before or after the myelogram.
What Happens During the Test?
Please report to Admitting the day of the test.  Someone from Mercy Imaging Services will come and escort you.  The nurse will review the consent and answer questions you may have.  You will than be assorted to where the procedure will take place and be asked to lie on your abdomen.

A local anesthetic is injected into your skin, and then a longer needle is inserted into the spinal canal. The doctor will check the needle's position by means of a fluoroscope (x-ray camera) which is connected to a TV monitor. After collecting a small sample of spinal fluid for routine analysis, the doctor injects contrast media (dye) into your spinal cord to help see your spinal cord and nerve roots. This contrast media is an iodine solution that is absorbed and excreted from your body within the next day or two.

While the dye is in the spinal sac, the technologist will adjust the table "head up" or "head down" so that the dye can move to the examination area. The doctor watches this movement on the fluoroscope and takes individual x-ray pictures for later examination.  You will be sent to have a CT scan for more detailed pictures of the spine.

How long Will It Take?
The entire procedure usually takes about one to one and a half hours.  The results should be available within 24 hours.  Your family is welcome to wait in the Admitting waiting room during the exam.
What Happens After the Test?
You will be assisted to a cart and your head slightly elevated for six  to 12 hours.  This is to keep the dye from irritating sensitive areas in your neck and head.  Drink plenty of fluids during the resting period to help "flush" the contrast media from your system.

After the resting period you will be given home instructions and be allowed to go home later the same day. You will need somebody to drive you; otherwise,  you may be asked to spend the night at the hospital. Take it easy for the next day or two, lying with your head elevated slightly, as much as possible.

If you have any questions, ask your health care provider or call the Mercy Imaging Services: 
or 1-800-433-3883, ext. 7200.

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 Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa | 1000 4th Street SW Mason City, IA 50401 | 641-428-7000

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