Myelography (myelogram) is a diagnostic test that uses a radiographic contrast media (dye) that is injected into the spinal canal’s fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, CSF). The dye visually enhances the spinal canal, spinal cord, and nerve roots when x-rayed or imaged using CT (Computed Tomography).
A myelogram may be performed to help find the cause of symptoms and diagnose a spinal disorder.
Some doctors prefer myelogram with CT to diagnose different spinal conditions, such as disc herniation, spinal stenosis, tumor, or vertebral fracture. CT provides more detail than x-ray.
Myelography is performed in a medical center or hospital x-ray department. Pre-test instructions include:
Myelgraphy involves two main steps: injecting contrast media (dye) into the spine and imaging the results.
The injection of the contrast media is sometimes referred to as a cervical or lumbar puncture. Before the puncture begins, your body is properly positioned.
Next, the skin area is cleansed using an antiseptic. A local anesthetic numbs the area. Fluoroscopy (real time x-ray) is used to guide the needle into the spine and monitor the injection and spread of the contrast within the CSF and around the spinal cord and nerve roots. The table may be tilted to help move the contrast media where needed.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, you are transferred to the observation area. When discharged home, written instructions may include:
Possible Side Effects
Most patients do not experience any side effects after myelography. The most common side effect is headache, which usually clears up in a day or two with rest and fluids. Other side effects include nausea, dizziness, generalized achiness, seizure, or infection (rare).