Myelogram Procedure

About the Myelogram Procedure

A myelogram is a relatively safe and painless procedure which provides important information about your spinal cord and the surrounding areas. This helps your doctor accurately diagnose your medical condition. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist, a physician specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions using miniature tools while guiding their progress on X-ray or other imaging equipment.

How to Prepare for a Myelogram:
On the night before the procedure, drink three to four glasses of water, which helps reduce the chances of a headache. You may have a liquid breakfast of tea, apple juice, or broth before 8:00 a.m. Most morning medications can be taken at their usual times with a sip of water, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

Bring all insurance information with you to the hospital, along with any referrals if needed. Bring a list of your medications, especially if you take aspirin or coumadin. If you have diabetes, please let the radiologist know prior to the procedure. Smoking before the procedure may increase your chance of headache. If you smoke, please avoid smoking for at least one day prior to the exam.

Notify the nurse and radiologist of any allergies you have (including any seafood allergies). Your hospital stay will be from two to six hours; please make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

During Your Myelogram:
Before the procedure, you will meet with the radiologist, who will discuss the benefits and risks and answer any questions you may have. You will need to sign an informed consent form before the procedure begins.

You will then be brought to our short-term care area, where you will have a blood test to check your blood thinness. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your stomach. You will feel a pinprick as the local anesthetic is given to numb the area. The radiologist will insert a tiny needle and inject a clear liquid dye into the area. A radiological technologist will position you and start taking a series of X-rays, during which you will be asked to remain still. The procedure lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. Following this portion of the procedure, you will be assisted to move to CT (computer Assisted Tomography) and a scan will be done while the due is still visible in your body.

After the myelogram and CT scan are completed, you will return to the short-term care unit, where you will rest quietly in bed with your head elevated 35 degrees. Keeping your head elevated and drinking fluids helps to prevent headaches. You may get out of bed to use the bathroom only.

After Your Myelogram:
We recommend that you rest quietly in bed for the next 24 hours after returning home, keeping your head partially reclined. You may not drive or do any physical activity for 24 hours. Please have a friend or family member stay with you during this time. Continue to drink plenty of fluids to help reduce the chances of a headache. If you develop a mild headache, you can take non-aspirin, non-prescription medicine such as Tylenol or Advil according to the package directions.

If you develop any of the following symptoms, call Jersey Shore University Medical Center immediately at 732-776-4121 (or after 5:00 p.m. call 732-776-4203):

  • Severe headache
  • Seizure
  • Vomiting that won’t stop
  • Convulsion
  • Fever
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Decreased Alertness
  • Pain or drainage where the needle was placed

Care Locations

  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

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