What you should know
Myelogram, also called myelography, is a procedure that uses an x-ray to examine your spinal canal. Contrast dye is used to help caregivers see your nerves, bones, or spinal cord more clearly.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
A myelogram may increase your risk for a headache, neck or back pain, nausea, or vomiting. You may have bleeding, or spinal fluid may leak from the injection site. The procedure may cause injury to a disc, nerves, or your spinal cord. The dye used during the procedure may cause an allergy, seizures, or brain problems. The dye may also damage your kidneys.
Before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You will need an injection of contrast dye to help caregivers see your nerves, bones, or spinal cord more clearly. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. You may be given medicine to help prevent a reaction to the dye.
- Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.
- You may need to have blood or urine tests. You may also need other imaging tests, such as x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your procedure:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- Depending on where your surgeon will inject the needle, you will sit or lie on an x-ray table. Your surgeon will insert a needle between the bones of your spine and into your spinal canal. He will use an x-ray with a monitor to carefully guide the needle. He will inject dye to see your nerves, bones, or spinal cord more clearly. You may feel warm after the dye is injected. The table will be tilted so the dye can move through your spinal canal.
- You will be moved into a series of positions, and x-rays will be taken. After the procedure is done, the dye will be removed if it is made with oil. The needle will be removed, and the injection site will be covered with a bandage or surgical tape.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a room to rest for several hours. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. You may need to drink more liquids than usual after the procedure, or you may need IV fluids. Liquids will help flush the contrast dye out of your body.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your procedure.
- You have a skin infection or a wound near the area where the procedure will be done.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have a fever.
- Your signs and symptoms get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.