Myelogram: Overview, Preparation Tips & Side Effects

Myelography is an imaging examination that shows the passage of contrast material in the space around the spinal cord (the subarachnoid space) using a real-time form of x-ray called fluoroscopy, in which organs can be seen over time.

Patient Safety Tips Prior to a Myelogram

  • Please let us know if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to medications.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, please tell your doctor or technologist.
  • Please leave your valuables at home or in your room in the hospital.
  • Please let us now if you need interpreting services, this can be arranged for you.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications with you (out-patient). Stop taking Aspirin or aspirin-containing products at least 5 days prior to the procedure. If you are taking other blood thinning medications, contact your doctor to discuss.
  • For outpatients, a responsible adult must accompany you home after the exam.

Preparation for the procedure

  • Do not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to the exam. Medications may be taken with a small amount of water.
  • Outpatients, please arrive 60 minutes before the scheduled exam time.
  • The technologist will verify your identification and exam requested.
  • There will be an opportunity for you to talk to the radiologist about the plan for the procedure and give your consent.
  • Bring any x-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans of your spine or brain to the hospital.

During the procedure

  • The duration of the procedure will vary, but the average is about 1 hour.
  • The technologist will position you on the exam table, usually on your stomach.
  • A CT scan will be done following the procedure.
  • The technologist and radiologist will be available to answer any questions.

After the procedure

  • After the procedure, you will be brought into the Radiology holding area for observation.
  • It is important to keep your head slightly elevated for 24 hours following the myelogram. Use 1-2 pillows on the bed. Do not lie flat or allow your head to be lower than the rest of your body until the next morning.
  • Drink extra fluids for the remainder of the day. Avoid drinks with alcohol and caffeine for 24 hours.
  • If you are going home, discharge instructions will be given to you.