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Myelogram

How It Is Done continued...

You will need to take off jewelry that might be in the way of the X-ray picture. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes above the waist (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not get in the way of the test). You will be given a gown to wear during the test.

During the test

You will have a lumbar puncture to put the dye into your spinal canal. You will lie on your stomach or side on an X-ray table. The doctor cleans an area on your lower back. A numbing medicine is put into your skin.

After the area is numb, a thin needle is put into the spinal canal and a stream of X-rays (fluoroscopy) is used to help the doctor place the needle in the right area. A sample of spinal canal fluid may be taken before the dye is put in the canal.

After the dye is put in, you will lie still while the X-ray pictures are taken.

After the pictures are taken, a small bandage is put on your back where the needle was put in. You will be told what to do after the test.

After the test

This test usually takes 30 minutes to 1 hour.

You may need to lie in bed with your head raised for 4 to 24 hours after the test. To prevent seizures, do not bend over or lie down with your head lower than your body.

Avoid strenuous activity, such as running or heavy lifting, for at least 1 day after the test.

Drink plenty of water afterward. Your doctor will give you instructions on taking your regular medicines.

How It Feels

You will feel a quick sting from the small needle used to numb the skin on your back. You will feel some pressure as the long, thin spinal needle is put into your spinal canal. You may feel a quick sharp pain down your buttock or leg when the needle is moved in your spine. You may find it hard to lie on your stomach or side during this test.

The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and leave a metallic taste in your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or have a headache. Tell your doctor how you are feeling.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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