Fortunately this text has been all but replaced by the MRI. However, especially in patients with pace-makers,a myelogram which is a special x-ray of your spine will be required to see if there is any decrease or blockage in the flow of cerebral spinal fluid around your spinal column and nerve roots. It is used to diagnose a bulging disc, herniated disc, or changes in the bones surrounding the spinal cord. A myelogram/CT combined is the most accurate test for evaluating nerve root compression. It is generally reserved for patients with multiple level pathology, patients with prior spinal surgery, or when mechanical instability is suspected. In most other cases, an MRI is usually diagnostic, and because it is not invasive, it is the preferred test for straight-forward spinal disorders.
What to Expect at the Time of Your Myelogram
Prior to the myelogram, you will need to let us know if you have any allergies especially to Iodine or shellfish such as shrimp. Also, please tell us if you think that you may be pregnant.
On the morning of your test, take your routine medication and eat a light breakfast. The evening before your myelogram please drink more fluids than usual such as water, juice, or tea because you will need to be well hydrated before the test. All medications can be taken per your usual regimen. Please continue to drink fluids after the test to total at least three eight-ounce glasses.
Before the test, you will be asked to sign a consent form. The risks will be outlined which include bleeding, infection, spinal fluid leak, and possible allergic reaction.
You will be positioned on your stomach on the x-ray table. A local anesthetic will then be given. A lumbar puncture or spinal tap is then performed. We actually use a “pediatric” gauge needle for this! A special dye is injected, the needle is removed, and a series of x-rays are subsequently taken. Once the myelogram is complete you will then be sent for a CT scan.
Following your test you will need to be driven home. You should avoid strenuous activity. You should “take it easy” throughout the day, and avoid lying flat. Sleep with your head on at least two pillows the night following the test. You should refrain from drinking alcohol for 24 hours following the test.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office. (239) 649-1662