Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have myelography, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Allergic reaction to the contrast
Inflamed or infected spinal cord
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
Physical exam and medical history
Ask if you are pregnant—this test is not usually done on women who are pregnant
Discuss your medicines with you, as you may need to stop or change the dosing
Determine if you have any allergies
Possibly prescribe a mild sedative to help you relax
Leading up to your procedure:
The night before, do not eat solid foods after midnight. You should continue to drink liquids.
If your doctor prescribes a sedative:
Arrange to have someone drive you home. Also, arrange for someone to help you at home.
Take the sedative before the exam as directed by your doctor.
There is usually no anesthesia with this procedure. Your doctor may give you a mild sedative. You may have local anesthetic to reduce the pain of the needle.
Description of the Procedure
You will lie on your side or face down. Or, you may sit on the edge of a table, leaning forward. You may be given a local anesthetic injection in your back.
Your doctor will insert a needle into the space between your vertebrae. A small amount of fluid will be removed from the spinal canal. Next, the contrast will be injected through the needle. Your doctor will use an imaging procedure called fluoroscopy. This combines an x-ray unit with a camera and a screen.
To take the images, you will be positioned stomach-down on the table. A brace will be against your shoulders. The table will be tipped forward. Next, the doctor will take images of your back. You will hold your breath while the images are taken. You may be asked to turn slightly to one side and then the other.
Often, your doctor will perform a
after myelography. This is to see the spread of the contrast dye.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a