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Pre Op - Myelogram



Description of Procedure

Myelogram, also called myelography, is a procedure that uses an x-ray to examine your spinal canal. Contrast is used to help caregivers see your nerves, bones, or spinal cord more clearly.

  • 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 contrast to see your nerves, bones, or spinal cord more clearly. You may feel warm after the contrast is injected. The table will be tilted so the contrast 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 contrast 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.
Care Agreement

You 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 contrast used during the procedure may cause an allergy, seizures, or brain problems. The contrast may also damage your kidneys.

Getting Ready

A week before your procedure:
  • Stop taking Coumadin 3 days prior to test. May continue taking Aspirin and Plavix. Will draw PT prior to the exam if on Coumadin.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend. Do not drive yourself home.
  • It is advisable to arrange for an adult to help you at home for the first 24 hours.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • You will need an injection of contrast 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. You may be given medicine to help prevent a reaction to the contrast.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:
  • Have a light breakfast the morning of the test. (toast, juice, and coffee). Do not eat solids after 8:00 a.m.
  • Take prescribed medications the morning of the test.
  • If insulin dependent, take only 1/2 of regular dose the morning of the test, unless directed otherwise.
  • If taking oral diabetic medications, do not take your dose the morning of your test. If taking glucophage or glucovance, do not resume until ordered by your physician.
  • Please leave valuables at home.
  • Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the clinic.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Post procedure stay will be 4-8 hours, unless otherwise indicated by the physician.
After Surgery

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 out of your body.

Reasons To Call Your Doctor
  • 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
  • You have a fever.
  • Your signs and symptoms get worse.