What is myelography?

Myelograms are used to diagnose spinal nerve injury, herniated discs, fractures, back or leg pain, and spinal tumors.

They involve the injection of a contrast dye into the spinal canal to enhance x-ray imaging of the spine. 

The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is usually performed in a hospital.  Following an injection of anesthesia to a site between two vertebrae in the lower back, a small amount of the cerebrospinal fluid is removed by spinal tap (see cerebrospinal fluid analysis, above) and the contrast dye is injected into the spinal canal.  After a series of X-rays is taken, most or all of the contrast dye is removed by aspiration. 

Patients may experience some pain during the spinal tap and when the dye is injected and removed.  Patients may also experience headache following the spinal tap.  The risk of fluid leakage or allergic reaction to the dye is slight.

Reference: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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