A myelogram is a detailed image of the spinal cord, nerve roots, and spinal lining. This procedure uses x-ray fluoroscopy and contrast dye to look at the spine after surgery or when other conditions are present. Your doctor may order a myelogram if you have an implanted device or condition that prevents you from receiving a traditional MRI.

How to Prepare:

Follow your doctor’s instruction about diet, clothing, and regular medications you are taking.

Stay well hydrated.

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.

Inform the doctor if there is a possibility you are pregnant.

Arrange for a friend or relative to drive you home after the procedure.

What to Expect:

A myelogram typically takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

You will lay on your stomach or side, depending on where the injection site is.

The injection site will be cleaned and numbed—you will feel a short pinch.

Contrast dye will be injected into your spine—this may cause some pressure.

The doctor will rotate the table slightly so the dye can reach all parts of your spinal cord and nerve roots.

Real-time images will be produced and will help diagnose the source of pain.

After the Procedure:

You will be encouraged to rest anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours after the procedure.

You will need to drink plenty of fluids to flush the contrast dye.

Avoid strenuous activity and bending over for two days.

Report any abnormal symptoms to your doctor.

Follow all of your doctor’s instructions regarding self-care and follow-up.