A myelogram is an x-ray used to evaluate the spinal canal. A spinal tap is used to introduce an x-ray dye into the spinal canal for clearer visualization. X-ray pictures are taken with the fluoroscope. This procedure is generally performed by the radiologist. After the pictures are completed, a CT scan of the target spinal areas is performed.

Before the Myelogram

After midnight, the night prior to your procedure, you cannot have any solid food. You may have a clear liquid breakfast (water, apple juice, tea, chicken broth, jello) on exam day. You cannot have milk, coffee or orange juice. It is important to drink a lot of fluids.

If you are a female of childbearing age and think you might be pregnant, tell you doctor or technologist prior to the exam.

You may take all your medications, except you must not take aspirin, ibuprofen or Vitamin E 10 days prior to the procedure. Blood thinners, such as coumadin, should be stopped five days prior to the procedure. Other pain medications may be taken up to four hours prior to the procedure.

You should wear comfortable clothing for the procedure. Leave money and valuables at home. Bring previous x-rays, MRIs or CT scans with you. Make arrangements for someone to drive you home, because you will not be able to drive after the procedure.

During the Myelogram

When you arrive at the hospital, go to Admitting to register. Some laboratory testing may need to be completed. You will then go to Same Day Surgery (SDS). The radiologist performing the procedure will explain the procedure and any risks or complications. Ask any questions you have about the procedure. You will be asked to sign a consent form for the procedure.

You will be transported to radiology on a patient gurney.

You will lie on your stomach on the x-ray table. Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. A local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, will be used to numb the skin on your back. The radiologist will then place a needle into your spinal canal. The needle's placement is monitored by a fluoroscope. - Once the needle is in the proper position, an x-ray dye will be injected into the spinal canal. Several pictures will be taken. Once the dye is placed, the needle is removed. You will be taken to CAT Scan within one hour for additional pictures. You will then go back to Same Day Surgery where a SDS nurse will monitor your vital signs for 4-6 hours prior to discharge.

After the Myelogram

It will be necessary to remain in a flat position following your procedure. You will need to drink plenty of fluids to flush the dye from your system. Your family may stay with you after the myelogram. You must have someone drive you home and remain with you for the rest of the day.

The radiologist will provide your doctor with the report of the exam. Your doctor can then discuss the results with you.