Myelogram

Myelogram tests can help answer questions about the cause of your head or back pain and can provide a path forward to treatment. We know how difficult it is to live with pain, and we’re dedicated to helping.

TESTS THAT PROVIDE ANSWERS

You’ll find the only myelogram tests in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky at UC Health. It’s testing that can diagnose the source of your pain, and it’s right where you live.

Compassionate Healing Starts Here

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Our experts know that specialized care and innovative treatment options deliver relief from chronic pain. At UC Health, we have built a team of highly trained subspecialists that offer hope in the form of thorough, thoughtful assessment and diagnosis for headaches and facial pain, as well as a wide range of the latest treatment options backed by research.

To schedule an appointment, please call the UC Health Headache & Facial Pain team at 513-475-8730.

Help Along the Way

Answers to Your Myelogram Questions

A myelogram is a specialized diagnostic test that helps detect problems in the spinal cord, nerve roots and other tissue. It is performed using an injection of contrast dye and X-rays or a CT scan. It is used to evaluate abnormalities in the spine that could be causing issues. The test is usually performed by a neuroradiologist.

Generally, a myelogram follows this process:

  • You will lie on your stomach or side on a padded table.

  • Your back will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and draped with sterile towels.

  • The radiologist will numb the skin of your lower spine by injecting a numbing medicine using a thin needle. This injection may sting for a few seconds, but it makes the procedure less painful.

  • A needle is inserted through the numbed skin and a contrast dye is injected into the lower lumbar spine. You will feel some pressure while the needle goes in, but it should not be painful.

  • Next, a small amount of contrast dye is injected into the spinal canal through the needle. You may feel a warming sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth when the contrast dye is injected. This should last only a few minutes. 

  • The X-ray table will be tilted in various directions to allow gravity to help move the contrast dye to different areas of your spinal cord. You will be held in place by a special brace or harness. More contrast dye may be given during this process through the secured lumbar puncture needle.

  • The needle is then removed and the X-rays or CT scans are taken.

  • You should tell the radiologist right away if you feel any numbness, tingling, headache or lightheadedness during the procedure.

You may have discomfort during the myelogram. The radiologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.

The ideal candidates for a myelogram are:

  • Patients who have a suspected cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.

  • Patients with postural headaches, or severe headaches that get better when lying down. 

  • Patients who cannot have an MRI due to pacemakers or other implanted devices.

Myelograms can help to diagnose many conditions:

  • Headaches.

  • Herniated discs.

  • Spinal cord tumors.

  • Infection or inflammation of tissues around the spinal cord.

  • Spinal stenosis.

  • Bone spurs.

  • Arthritic discs.

  • Tumors.

  • Cysts.

  • Tearing away or injury of spinal nerve roots.

  • Arachnoiditis.

The length of the test can vary by patient, but it usually takes about an hour.

After your myelogram, rest for the remainder of the day as advised. Lie down with your head raised if you get a headache or if instructed to do so. Avoid physical activity or bending over for one to two days after the procedure or as directed by your healthcare provider. Drink plenty of water.

There are small risks of pain, bleeding or infection at the injection site or within or around the spinal canal. Other risks include headache and injury to a nerve or the spinal cord at the injection site.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have a headache that lasts two days or more, a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, chills, lasting pain in your back or tingling in your groin or legs, or whatever your healthcare provider told you to report based on your medical condition.

Why UC Health

Experience and Expertise

Satisfied Patients

Our team of neuroradiologists takes great care with each patient. We provide information and comfort and use our advanced training for the best outcomes.

Accurate Answers

The myelogram test allows our radiologists to see different areas of the spine that aren’t usually visible on an X-ray. It helps to provide a better diagnosis and treatment plan.

Outpatient Testing

Myelograms are relatively safe and painless and can usually be performed without a hospital stay.

Complex Problems

Myelograms can help to diagnose many problems, including: headaches, herniated discs, spinal cord tumors, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, arthritic discs, cysts, injury of spinal nerve roots, spinal cord infection or inflammation, and arachnoiditis.

Safe for Implants

Myelograms are safe for patients who cannot have an MRI due to a pacemaker or other implanted device.

Specialized Training

Our team of experts is among fewer than a dozen nationwide with the advanced, specialized training necessary to offer myelogram testing.

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Referring Physicians: Success and Provider Toolbox

We are committed to providing optimal care to your patient and open communication with you. We understand that as a referring physician, you need to be kept informed on your patient’s progress. That’s why we set up a toolbox to share detailed information about your patient’s health with you.

For referral information, call:

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At UC Health, we lead the region in scientific discoveries and embrace a spirit of purpose – offering our patients and their families something beyond everyday healthcare. At UC Health, we offer hope.

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