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Myelogram

Purpose:
Focuses on the central nerous system structures within the spinal cord.  Indications include, but are not limited to:

  • Demonstration of cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Evaluation of radiculopathy
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Surgical / Radiation therapy planning
  • Contraindications to MRI

This is a 2-part study:  Myelography injection is performed in the lumbar region under fluoroscopic guidance with CT imaging to follow.

Introduction:
A Myelogram is a specialized procedure combining the use of a contrast substance with x-rays and/ or computed tomography (CT) to evaluate abnormalities of the spinal canal. Procedure Duration: 45-60 minutes for x-ray portion (sometimes followed by CAT scan) and 1-4 hours after the procedure for monitoring.

Patient Preparation:
Drink an additional 8-10 glasses of fluids the day before the procedure.  You may have a light breakfast the morning of the procuedure.  Then no more solid food until after the exam.  You may drink only clear liquids prior to the procedure.  Please take your regular medicaitons with a small sip of water, unless told otherwise by your doctor or one of our radiology nurses.  Remember to bring a current list of your medications, doses and times per day you take them. 

Please make sure the tell your doctor or the technologist if you have any allergies to medications, especially to radiology contrast (dye).  If you have had any contrast (dye) reactions in the past you may need to pre-medicate.  Please make your physician aware of this prior to your visit, as well as your technologists at the time of  your procedure.

Upon arrival to the radiology department, you will change into a gown and robe provided by the hospital.  You are required to remove all clothing.  You may keep your undergarments on.  Your privacy and comfort will be maintained at all times.

**NOTE:  If you are a woman of childbearing age, the technologist will ask if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

During the procedure:
A doctor of radiology (radiologist) and registered technologist(s) will perform the procedure.  Please feel free to ask any questions at any time during your procedure.
 
A technologist will go over some medical history and your medication list with you prior to the procedure.  She/he will explain to you what your procedure requires.  You will be positioned on a flat table so the radiologist will be best able to access the spine area of your back.

The x-ray table moves and tilts.  It is attached to a fluoroscope, an x-ray unit that works with a television/computer screen.  The doctor will use this to view the area of your spine where you are having symptoms.  You may be positioned in one of the several ways:

  • Lying face down on the table with your forehead on a sponge block for access to your cervical spine
  • Lying face down  possibly with pillows under your abdomen if for lumbar spine
  • Lying on your side with knees pulled up to the chest and chest curled forward

These positions open the spaces between your vertebrae to allow a needle to be inserted to administer the colorless contrast (dye) into the spinal canal to provide detailed information regarding your symptoms.  The doctor will work in a sterile field to reduce the risk of introducing any infection.  A numbing medicine similar to Novocain will be used to lessen the discomfort of the spinal needle the doctor will insert into your back.
 
When the needle is in place, the physician slowly injects the contrast dye through the needle.  As the contrast agent fills the space around your spinal cord, the radiologist watches the x-ray monitor to observe any problems or defects.  Fluoroscopic images are obtained of your spinal canal with the contrast dye followed by overhead x-rays.

After the procedure, the technologist will provide discharge instructions in both verbal and in written form.  If a CT Scan is to follow, the technologist will place you on a stretcher to be transported to the CAT scan room for your scan.  Otherwise, you will be escorted to the changing room and then out of the department through reception.

Post-procedure Information:
The radiologist (doctor) will read all images from the procedure(s) and dictate a report.  Your physician will receive a report of the findings within 3 business days and should advise you of the results. Be sure to follow the discharge instructions given to you after your procedure.

 

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100