What is Myelography?

Myelography is an imaging test used to diagnose various neurological disorders that affect the spinal cord. The procedure involves injecting a special dye called a myelogram into the spinal canal.

Preparing for myelography

Before the test, the doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and perform a physical exam to make sure it is safe for you to undergo the procedure. This includes checking for any recent infections in your back. The doctor will likely order a blood test to evaluate your health and to check for any allergies to any dyes or medications you may be given during the procedure.

Your doctor may also advise you to perform certain steps beforehand to prevent complications, such as discontinuing the use of any medications that may increase your risk of bleeding during the procedure. You should also avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight on the day of the procedure.

Myelography Procedure

  • The procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting and may take around an hour.
  • The patient is asked to lie on their stomach on an X-ray table. They are then given local anesthetic to numb the area where a needle is inserted into the spinal canal.
  • The myelogram dye is then injected into the spinal canal and an X-ray is taken of the area.
  • The needle is then removed and the patient is left to rest until the effects of the local anesthetic have worn off.
  • The patient is then asked to shower and get ready for discharge.

Types of Myelography

There are two types of myelography: conventional and CT-guided. The conventional type uses a water-soluble dye which is injected into the lumbar sac. After the procedure, the dye is absorbed or eliminated from the body within a few days. CT-guided myelography uses a contrast material that is injected into the spinal canal through a needle which is guided by a CT scan.

Why might a myelogram be used?

The procedure is used to diagnose spinal cord diseases, tumors, and nerve root compressions. It can help identify bones that have slipped out of place, herniated discs, and detect other abnormalities.

When might a myelogram be used?

A myelogram is typically used when the results of a CT scan or an MRI are inconclusive. It may also be used after spinal surgery to check for recurrence of tumors or slipped vertebrae.

Risks of Myelography

Although the procedure is safe and generally complication-free, there is a risk of infection, allergic reaction, headaches, or nerve or spinal cord damage. Patients may also experience pain and discomfort at the injection site.