A myelogram is an imaging examination that involves the introduction of a spinal needle into the spinal canal and the injection of contrast material in the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots. When the contrast material is injected into the subarachnoid space, the radiologist is able to view and evaluate the status of the spinal cord, nerve roots and meninges. Myelography provides a very detailed picture of the spinal cord and spinal column. The radiologist views the passage of contrast material using fluoroscopy but also may take permanent images, called X-rays. In most cases, the myelogram is followed by a computed tomography (CT) scan to better define the anatomy and any abnormalities.

How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?

Some drugs should be stopped one or two days before your myelogram. These include certain antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, blood thinners and drugs – especially metformin – that are used to treat diabetes. The most important type of medication that must be stopped is blood thinners (anticoagulants).

What Are Some Common Reasons for the Procedure?

  • Detect abnormalities affecting the spinal cord, canal or spinal nerve roots
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal lesions
  • Infection

For Your Safety, Be Sure to Inform the Technologists Of:

  • Any allergies
  • Bleeding problems
  • Pregnancy or possible pregnancy
  • Any previous surgeries
  • Any medications you are taking (blood thinners, aspirin, etc.)

After Your Exam

You will be instructed to remain on your back for several hours after the exam. Any activity could cause a spinal headache, resulting in possibly having to have a blood patch. You may continue your medications the following day.