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What is a Myelogram?

A myelogram is an X-ray (fluoroscopy) where a special dye is injected into the spinal canal. The dye makes the spinal structures more visible on the fluoroscope screen or X-ray film and helps the physician view the spinal cord and canal in more detail. To get more detailed information from the test, a CT scan is often done after the X-rays, while the dye is still present.

What happens during the procedure?

Prior to the procedure, you will be asked to sign a consent form. A nurse will check your vital signs, and ask what medications you are currently taking and if you are allergic to any medications or X-ray dye. Tell the physician if you have a history of epilepsy or seizures and if you are diabetic. If you are a female of child bearing age, the facility may require a pregnancy test prior to the procedure.

Lying face down on the table, in the procedure room, the area of injection will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and the skin will be numbed. When the area is numb, the physician will inject the special dye by placing a needle into your spinal canal. You might feel a little pressure during this part of the procedure. You might be asked to move into a different position or tilt your head downward. You might also be tilted downward on the table. After the X-rays are done, the CT scan will then be performed.

What happens after the procedure?

After the myelogram, you might feel some discomfort or have a minor headache. You will return to the recovery room for 2 to 4 hours of observation. During this time the nurse will re-check your vital signs. Most patients return home the same day. You must make arrangements to have someone take you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home. If you experience fainting, tremors, severe headache, stiff neck, your eyes become sensitive to light, headache that last more than 24 hours, have problems urinating or having a bowel movement, develop a fever or nausea, please contact your physician.

How do I prepare for the myelogram?

  • Nothing to eat or drink 6 hours prior to the myelogram.
  • Discontinue all medications after midnight before your myelogram. If you are on routine medications for heart, blood pressure or diabetes, you can take your medication as usual the morning of your myelogram with a sip of water.
  • Discontinue anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen three days prior to the myelogram.
  • Discontinue aspirin products seven days prior to your myelogram.
  • If on blood thinners such as Coumadin, Plavix or Pradaxa, contact the prescribing physician to stop the medication seven days prior to your myelogram.

What do I need to do on the day of the injection?

  • You must have an adult driver with you
  • Make and bring a list of all medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter with you to the injection along with your photo identification and insurance card(s).
  • Plan to arrive one hour prior to your injection time to check-in and register at the facility.

Other than pain, associated symptoms may include weakness, numbness or tingling.

Fortunately, most forms of back pain get better on their own: approximately 50 percent of patients will experience back pain relief within two weeks and 90 percent within three months.

If the pain lasts for more than a few days, is getting worse, does not respond to back pain remedies such as a short period of rest, using ice or heat, lower back pain exercises and over-the-counter pain relievers, then it is usually advisable to see a back doctor.

Drug Information

Anti-inflammatory drugs that need to be stopped 3 days prior to your injection

  • Advil,Ibuprofen, Nuprin, Motrin
  • Naprosyn, Naprelan, Naproxyn, Alleve, anaprox
  • Lodine, Etodolac
  • Orudis, Oruvail, Ketoprofen
  • Ansaid
  • Cataflam, Voltaren, Diclofenac, Arthrotec
  • Feldene, Iroxicam
  • Tolectin, Tomletin
  • Nalfon, Fenoprofen
  • Meclomen, Meclofenamate
  • Daypro, Oxaprozin
  • Clinoril, Sulindac
  • Indocin, Indomethacin
  • Relafen (Nabumetone)
  • Dolobid, Difunisal
  • Ponstel, Mefenamic Acid
  • Toradol, Ketoralac
  • Mobic

Aspirin products to stop taking 7 days prior to your injection:

  • Apsirin, Bufferin, Excedrin, Disalcid, Salsalate, Alka Seltzer Plus, Trisilate
  • Anything that has “salicylic” or “salicylate” on the label

It is alright to continue taking:

  • Celebrex

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Free Pain Quiz

Pain presents itself in many different ways, at different times and in many cases is triggered by specific activities. We will be happy to answer your questions in conjunction with a personal phone call follow up with one of our doctors.

Free MRI Review

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