Myelography is a diagnostic procedure to help identify the root cause of your back pain and help your doctor determine a proper treatment plan. It is typically performed for patients with general back pain or previous surgery, or as an alternative to MRI for patients who have implanted hardware, severe claustrophobia, or other factors.
Using imaging for guidance, contrast is injected into the spinal canal. A CT scan is then performed to capture images of the spinal canal. Because it is a diagnostic test, a myelogram is not intended to relieve your pain.
What to Expect
- We will contact you prior to your appointment to review current medications, your medical history, and potential risks. We will also answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
- Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Contact your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
- On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.
- Although complications are rare, we will review possible side effects and risks with you prior to your exam so you can ask questions and decide if this exam is right for you.
- When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
- A myelogram usually takes about 30 minutes. After the myelogram, a CT scan will be done to gather detailed pictures of your spine, which will take an additional 15-30 minutes.
- You will lie on an X-ray table and the skin in the targeted area will be cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic.
- Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) for guidance, a thin needle will be used to inject contrast into the area thought to be causing your pain. You may feel a pressure sensation or experience brief discomfort.
- The radiologist will monitor the flow of contrast with fluoroscopy as the fluid flows up the spine by using controls on the special exam table to tilt your body slightly.
- Static X-ray pictures will be taken to ensure proper placement of the contrast solution.
- While the contrast is still in effect, you may be moved to a CT suite for an additional scan that is used to help better define the cause of your pain.
- When your procedure is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
- Specific recovery instructions will be provided at your exam.
- Our radiologist will review the images and provide your doctor a with detailed report about your images. This report, along with any other relevant information or tests, will assist your doctor in determining the best treatment plan for you.