A myelogram—an advanced imaging study that delivers a comprehensive view of the spinal canal—can help uncover various conditions that affect the spine. A myelogram uses X-ray technology to create detailed pictures of the bones (vertebrae) and the fluid-filled (subarachnoid) space between the bones in your spine. Your doctor may order this study if you experience neck, leg or back pain, or weakness and tingling in your legs.
The procedure can also benefit people who need spine imaging and are ineligible for an MRI due to having a pacemaker, surgical screws, or other metal or electronic devices that might be affected by magnets in the MRI equipment.
Myelography is available on an outpatient basis at Touchstone Medical Imaging locations in Texas, with same-day and next-day appointments often available.
A myelogram can help diagnose:
To prepare for your myelogram at Touchstone Medical Imaging, we may instruct you to:
After you meet your technologist, you’ll lie down on the X-ray table to receive an anesthetic to numb an injection site along your spine followed by an injection of contrast dye. The injection typically feels like nothing more than slight pressure. If your doctor requests it, we will also collect and send a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid to a laboratory for further testing.
Your technologist may ask you to lie on your side or your stomach, and the X-ray table will be tilted at different angles. This helps the dye move through the spinal canal and makes the nerve roots and spinal cord easier to see on the scan. Next, as you lie face-down on the X-ray table, your technologist will use fluoroscopy to capture a continuous series of detailed X-ray images. Your technologist will ask you to lie as still as possible while taking the radiographs.
Your doctor may also order a CT scan to be performed immediately after the X-rays, while the dye is still in your body. The CT scan provides even more detail about soft tissues, such as root nerves, in the spinal canal.
A myelogram usually takes 30–60 minutes. A CT myelogram, using a CT scan as well as traditional X-rays, may take an extra 15–30 minutes.
One of Touchstone Medical Imaging’s radiologists will study the images taken during your myelogram and send a detailed report to your doctor, who will discuss the results with you. Your doctor will advise you about your treatment options and inform you if you need a follow-up scan to further examine any problem areas or track changes in your condition over time.
After your imaging study, our caring staff will watch over you for up to three hours before you are released to be driven home. We will give you fluids to drink to help clear the contrast dye, and you should continue drinking liquids regularly for most of the day after your test. Once home, lie down with your head elevated and limit activities for at least 24 hours.
Pregnant women should not receive a myelogram. For others, this test is safe as it employs a very low amount of radiation, according to the American College of Radiology.
A very small number of people may be allergic to the contrast dye. Talk to your doctor about any prior reactions or other allergies that might put you at risk.
At Touchstone Medical Imaging, our high-quality outpatient imaging services are all administered in a caring manner. Our fellowship-trained, subspecialized radiologists skillfully interpret your results to provide the nuance and clarity you and your doctors need as you make plans for your health and medical care. Our team strives to deliver compassionate care and extraordinary customer service.
Do you need a myelogram study? Touchstone Medical Imaging offers multiple locations in Texas, with same-day and next-day appointment options for your convenience. Find the Touchstone Medical Imaging Center closest to you, obtain a physician referral, then call to schedule an appointment.