A myelogram is an X-ray procedure that uses contrast in the spinal canal to study the spinal cord and nerves in either the upper cervical, mid thoracic, or lower lumbar spine.
The contrast used during the test does have a slight health risk. Patients will be given a consent form by the technologist to sign after receiving a full description of potential side effects of the contrast, and the procedure.
During the exam, the patient will be asked to change clothes and wear a gown.
Wearing lose fitting jogging clothes with no metal objects may allow you to avoid changing clothes.
Preliminary X-rays will be obtained, and then the radiologist will introduce a small needle into the spinal canal located in the lower back, using a fluoroscope for guidance. Deadening medicine will make the procedure relatively painless.
Once the contrast is administered into the spine, the patient will be tilted to allow the contrast to flow to the area of interest.
Multiple digital images will be obtained in various positions to study the spinal cord and nerves. This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.
This study is usually followed by a CT scan while the contrast is still in place within the spinal canal. This ensures an accurate assessment of the spine.
Once the CT scan is complete, the patient will be observed for two hrs and encouraged to drink large amounts of fluid to help eliminate the contrast through the kidneys.
Once released, the patient will be asked to follow strict bed rest instructions for at least 24 hours to reduce the chance of headaches.
The electronic images are acquired, transmitted and stored in a digital format. The images, along with its reports, are immediately available for electronic transmission to referring physicians. Our facility can also accept similar images from other facilities for comparisons to prior studies. This becomes very important in identifying any pertinent changes in the health status of the region of interest.
The patient should be fasting for 4 hours before the exam. Any prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Patient cannot drive home, someone must accompany the home.
Following the exam, the patient must be reclined for 24 hours after he/she arrives home. Failure to do so may result in severe headaches and may require an emergency room visit. Then the patient may resume his/her normal diet and activities.
If you are Diabetic and taking Metformin, you will need a recent (less than 30days) Kidney chemistry blood work, BUN and Creatinine. These must be normal for you to receive the contrast. You must be able to stay off the medication for 48 hours after the test, and have the BUN and Creatinine repeated. If the values are normal, you may restart the medication. Do not stop the Metformin without first consulting with your physician. He will need to be consulted to restart the medication.