Montreal Neurological Hospital
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.
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.
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) 398‑1910 and ask to speak with a nurse 7h30 — 17h00, 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) 398‑1910 and ask to speak to a nurse from 7h30 — 17h30, Monday to Friday.
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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.