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What is a Myelogram?

A myel­o­gram is a study of the inside of the spine. This is made pos­si­ble by an injec­tion of con­trast through a spinal puncture.

Some­one MUST accom­pany you home at the time of dis­charge to ensure your safety, OTH­ER­WISE THE TEST WILL NOT BE DONE. YOU SHOULD NOT DRIVE YOURSELF.

Who per­forms the exam?

The exam is per­formed by a radi­ol­o­gist, assisted by spe­cial­ized personnel.

How long does it take?

The exam itself usu­ally takes 1 hour. How­ever, you will have to stay in the recov­ery area for 1 hour after the exam is com­pleted. A nurse will be avail­able to help you recover.

What are the risks of this exam?

There are min­i­mal risks involved with this exam. The most com­mon side effect is a headache, which may begin within hours or up to sev­eral days after­wards. The headache may be com­bined with nau­sea or dizzi­ness. The symp­toms usu­ally resolve if you lie down qui­etly, drink plenty of flu­ids and take a sim­ple analgesic.

drinkIt is impor­tant to stay well hydrated (drink lots of liq­uids) until the time of the exam.
The morn­ing of the exam, you may have break­fast and a light lunch.

What should you do BEFORE the exam?

You must dis­con­tinue any anti­de­pres­sant drugs 48 hours before the exam. You can restart your anti­de­pres­sant drugs 24 hours after the exam. You may con­tinue to take all other med­ica­tions. The radi­ol­o­gist will explain the exam to you and ask you to sign an informed con­sent. This is your oppor­tu­nity to ask any ques­tions about the exam.

What to expect dur­ing the exam?

You will be lying on your stom­ach dur­ing the spinal punc­ture, which will be made in your lower back region. The radi­ol­o­gist will clean this area with an anti­sep­tic solu­tion and a local anes­thetic will be used to freeze your skin. A small nee­dle will be inserted in the area that has been frozen and con­trast will be injected. The nee­dle will then be removed and a series of films will be taken.

What to expect after the exam?

After the myel­o­gram is com­pleted, you will be trans­ported by stretcher to the CT Scan room to com­plete the series of X-​rays. When these X-​rays are com­pleted, (approx­i­mately 30 min­utes) you will be taken to a recov­ery room. You will remain in the recov­ery room with your head ele­vated for about 1 hour after the myel­o­gram is completed.

Upon return­ing home, con­tinue to lie with your head ele­vated for the next 24 hours. Dur­ing the night, while rest­ing, use 2 pil­lows to ele­vate your head higher than your spine. You may walk to the bath­room and sit for meals. Drink plenty of flu­ids to help elim­i­nate the contrast.

In the event of per­sis­tent headache, vom­it­ing, stiff neck, or fever, you should con­tact the radi­ol­ogy depart­ment at (514) 3981910 and ask to speak with a nurse 7h3017h00, Mon­day to Fri­day. At all other times, con­tact your doc­tor or the Emer­gency Depart­ment at your local hos­pi­tal. Be sure to inform the health pro­fes­sion­als you have had a MYEL­O­GRAM.

NB: If you are tak­ing a med­ica­tion called Glu­cophage (Met­formin), con­tact the radi­ol­ogy depart­ment as soon as pos­si­ble at (514) 3981910 and ask to speak to a nurse from 7h3017h30, Mon­day to Friday.


Neu­ro­ra­di­ol­ogy Depart­ment
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal
3801 Uni­ver­sity (cor­ner of Pine Avenue) 5th floor,
Mon­treal (Que­bec) H3A 2B4
Tele­phone: (514) 3981910

Infor­ma­tion about InfoNEURO
Neuro-​Patient Resource Cen­tre
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hosp­tial Room 354
Tel: (514) 3985358
E-​mail: infoneuro@​muhc.​mcgill.​ca
Web site: http://​infoneuro​.mcgill​.ca/

This infor­ma­tion is for edu­ca­tional pur­poses only, and is not intended to replace the advice of a pro­fes­sional health­care prac­ti­tioner, or to sub­sti­tute for med­ical care.

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Neu­ro­ra­di­ol­ogy Depart­ment.
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal.
McGill Uni­ver­sity Health Cen­tre.
Feb­ru­ary 2002.

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