Myelogram X-ray

A myelogram is a special X-ray of the spinal cord and spinal column.

Preparation for Your Exam

Do not eat any solid foods after 9 pm on the evening before your procedure. You may have clear liquids until three hours before your appointment.

You may take your routine medications on the day of the procedure.

If back pain is a problem for you, you may take your usual pain medication in preparation for the procedure.

If you are having the procedure as an outpatient, make arrangements for someone to drive you home after the procedure. You may not drive yourself home.

During the Exam

When you arrive in the radiology department, you will be placed on your stomach on the X-ray table. If you think that this position will be difficult for you, please let us know. (A myelogram takes about an hour to complete.)

A small area on your back will be washed and a local anesthetic will be injected to make the area numb. Next, a needle will be placed into the area near your spine.

A special X-ray dye known as "contrast" will be injected through the needle into the area around the spinal column, so as to highlight the structures in that area. You may notice a heaviness or pressure when the dye is injected. Dizziness and nausea are rare, but please let us know if you are uncomfortable.

After the dye is injected, the X-rays will be taken. When the exam is finished, you might be taken across the hall for a CT scan. The CT scan takes about 20 minutes to complete.

After the Exam

Once your CT scan has been completed, you will be placed in a bed with the head of the bed up, where you will recover for about two hours. During this time, you may eat and drink as you like. You will be encouraged to drink lots of fluids. The nurse will provide you with a bedpan or urinal if necessary.

You may move about in bed, or visit with your family. Be sure to let your nurse know if you experience a headache, backache, or leg pain.

How Do I Care for Myself at Home?

When you are discharged, you must travel with a companion and may not drive. When you arrive home, we suggest that you rest and limit your activity. If you have small children, arrange for someone to care for them. If you have a headache, take two Tylenol tablets (325 mg each) every four hours as needed. If a headache or nausea persists, contact your personal physician.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.