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Myelogram - What is it?

What is a Myelogram?

A myelogram is a procedure done to show if there are any abnormalities in the spine, the spinal cord (the nerves in the spine) or the surrounding structures. It involves placing a needle into the spinal canal and injecting an iodine containing contrast agent into the sac that contains the spinal cord and nerve roots, and then taking images. Franklin Moser, MD, director of Neuroradiology, leads our team of imaging physicians, nurses and technologists who specialize in these procedures.

How Is a Myelogram Performed?

A needle is placed in your lower back (lumbar and lumbosacral region) or occasionally in the neck (cervical region). The area for needle placement is localized using imaging guidance. The radiologist will administer local anesthesia. Since the needle tip is in a location near the nerve roots, you may briefly experience symptoms such as pain or an electric shock sensation down the leg; if this happens, the needle position will be adjusted.

A small amount of cerebrospinal fluid is removed and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Contrast is injected, multiple X-ray images are obtained, and the needle is removed. A CT scan is routinely performed after the myelogram to provide additional information. Much of the procedure is performed with you lying prone (face down). The entire procedure from start to finish lasts approximately one hour. You will be awake during the procedure and can ask questions.

CSF stands for cerebral spinal fluid.

What Should I Do to Prepare for a Myelogram?

An imaging nurse will call you one week before your procedure to check what medications you are taking, to give you instructions for the procedure and to answer any questions you may have.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.