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Myelogram

A myelogram is a test to check problems with your spinal canal, a tunnel-like structure in your spine that holds your spinal cord. A myelogram uses X-ray or computed tomography (CT) to create pictures of your spinal canal.

Woman lying face down on table under scanner. Health care provider wearing led vest is tilting table and looking at monitor.

Before Your Test

  • Don’t eat the morning of the test, but you can drink water or other clear fluids.

  • If instructed, stop taking medications before the test.

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home.

Tell the health care provider

Tell the health care provider if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be

  • Have any bleeding problems

  • Take blood thinners (anticoagulants) or other medications, including aspirin, certain antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, and other drugs. These may need to be stopped 1 or more days before your myelogram. 

  • Have had back surgery or low-back pain

  • Have any allergies

During Your Test

  • You will change into a hospital gown.

  • X-rays of your spine will be taken.

  • Your lower back will be cleaned, covered with drapes, and injected with a numbing medication.

  • Contrast fluid will be injected into your spinal canal and a small amount of spinal fluid may be withdrawn.

  • Additional X-rays will be taken.

  • If you need a CT test, it will follow the X-rays.

Call Your Doctor

Contact your doctor right away if:

  • You have a headache that lasts 2 days or more

  • You have a fever

  • You have lasting pain in your back, or tingling in your groin or legs

After Your Test

  • Take it easy for the rest of the day, as advised.

  • Lie down with your head raised if you get a headache, or if instructed to do so.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment.

 

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