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St. Mary's Myelogram Exam - What to Expect

Patient Prep

Contraindicated medications list for myelography

Certain medicines should be stopped 2-3 days before the myelogram is done. These include medicines for seizures, nausea or depression. Please call the Radiology Department at (812)485-4415 to find out if your medication is contraindicated for myelography. You may also download a list of contraindicated medications.  However, do not stop taking any medication without talking to your physician first.

You may eat and drink. We suggest that you have only a light meal before your myelogram is done. You may want to take your routine pain medicine before you have your myelogram. This will help if you have trouble lying on your stomach.

Test Procedure

The x-ray doctor or staff will explain more about your myelogram. You will be asked to sign a form that explains the exam and gives us permission to do the x-ray. You will be asked about allergies you have to medicine, food or x-ray dye.

During this test, you will lie face down on a special table. You will have a cushion placed under your abdomen and another one under your chin. We will do our best to make you as comfortable as possible. Let us know if you need pain medicine.

The table will be tilted in different directions during the study. There will be handles for you to hold. Your feet will be secured in boots at the end of the table to prevent you from sliding down when then table is tilted.

The doctor will clean your back with a cool liquid (iodine). This kills germs on your skin. A small area of your back will be numbed.

When the area on your back is numb, a special needle will be put into the space around your spine. You may feel pressure. Let someone know if you feel uncomfortable, faint or dizzy. Someone will always be there if you need something.

The doctor uses x-ray and a TV-like screen while inserting the needle. If ordered by your doctor, a small amount of spinal fluid may be removed and sent to the lab for tests.

Next, the doctor slowly puts x-ray dye into the spinal fluid. The table will be moved so that your head is lower than your feet. The doctor will watch the x-ray screen as the dye flows up your spine. When each x-ray is taken, you will be asked to hold your breath and remain perfectly still.

It is important that the films have all the needed information before going from one step to the next. You may have to wait while films are being checked.

Sometimes your doctor may order a CT scan to be done after your myelogram. In this case, you will lie on a stretcher with your head slightly raised. This keeps the x-ray dye around your spinal column until the CT scan pictures are taken. Someone will explain more about this. Ask for the free publication of your CT scan after the CT scan is completed.

After the Test

Keep your head elevated at least 30 degrees for the first 8 hours. You may sit in a chair or sit upright in the bed.

The dye is removed from your body through urine. So, drink plenty of fluids to help flush the dye from your body. You may eat what you want.

Do NOT move around except to go to the bathroom for the first 2 hours after the myelogram.

Do NOT bend from the waist for 8 hours.

Do NOT lie flat for eight hours.

Do NOT drive or operate machinery such as lawn mowers, lathes, skill or band saws for at least 48 hours.

For Headaches

Take Tylenol® or ibuprofen as directed on the bottle.

Drink fluids such as colas or coffee that contain caffeine. Caffeine helps relieve headaches.

If you have tried medicine and fluids and you still have a headache, then lie down somewhere. Sometimes, a headache that occurs as a result of a myelogram may get better when you lie flat. After you have been flat for 30 minutes, sit on the side of the bed and then stand up. If the headache returns or gets worse when you sit or stand, then the headache is due to the myelogram. If it does not get better in two days, call your doctor.

© 2016 St. Mary's Health System   |  3700 Washington Avenue  |  Evansville, IN 47750  |  (812) 485-4000