Hello, I’m Dr. Geoffrey Rubin, a radiologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I’d like to talk with you about myelography or having a myelogram.
Myelography is an imaging exam where a doctor introduces a needle into the fluid-filled space around your spinal cord and injects a tiny amount of contrast material into this space which is called the “subarachnoid space”. A real-time form of x-ray called fluoroscopy allows the radiologist to take moving pictures that evaluate the spinal cord, nerve roots and the membranes that cover them, known as the meninges.
Myelography is most commonly used to detect abnormalities such as a herniated disk or a degenerative condition called spinal stenosis. It may also be used together with magnetic resonance imaging to examine the spine for tumors, infection, inflammation or other lesions.
If you’re scheduled for a myelogram, there are several things you can do to prepare.
First, tell your doctor about any recent illnesses or medical conditions, also mention any medications you’re taking and whether or not you have any allergies, especially to iodine-based contrast materials. Inform your doctor if there is any possibility you may be pregnant.
You may be asked to avoid solid food, increase your fluid intake and stop taking certain medications before the exam. Leave any jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to change into a gown.
You may have some concerns about myelography. However, it’s important to consider the likelihood of benefit to your health. While myelography does use radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any risk.
For more information about myelography, visit us at Radiology Info dot org.