Myelography at Bristol Regional Medical Center

A myelogram is a diagnostic test used to assess diseases affecting the spine, spinal cord, and nerve roots. It involves the injection of x-ray dye into the fluid-filled sac surrounding the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. The test is performed by a radiologist, neurosurgeon, or their physician assistants in the Radiology Department at Bristol Regional Medical Center (BRMC).

What you should expect during a myelogram:

You will be awake during the procedure. You will lie on your stomach, or slightly tilted to your side. The doctor will determine the proper site for injection using the x-ray machine. That area will be cleaned, and numbing medicine will be injected at that site. This may sting for a second. A needle will then be inserted through the numb area into the spinal canal, below the level of the spinal cord. X-ray dye will be injected and the needle removed. X-rays will then be taken in several different positions. This portion of the exam will take about twenty minutes. There is no need to remove the dye; it is naturally eliminated by your body. After the myelogram, you will be transported by stretcher to the CT scan area, where additional cross-sectional X-rays will be performed.

How to register:

Please come to the Radiology registration desk on the first floor of the West wing of the hospital (next to the Emergency Room waiting area). See floor plan map on this website.

When you should arrive:

You will be given an appointment time by your physician’s office or the Bristol Regional Medical Center Radiology Department. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time in order to register and meet with our nurse.

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify the Bristol Regional Medical Center Radiology Department by calling 423-844-2201 as soon as possible.

You will not be allowed to drive yourself home. Please arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home after the myelogram and CT scan.

What to bring:

  • Someone to drive you home 
  • Your doctor’s order
  • medical insurance card and a picture I.D.
  • copies or CD’s of any recent MRI, CT, or other x-ray studies you have had recently. These will be returned, if necessary.

After you arrive:

Our nurses will review the procedure with you and will ask you to sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure, risks, benefits, and alternatives. If you have any questions, please ask your nurse or the doctor prior to the procedure.

After registration is complete, you will be taken into the department, where you will be given a hospital gown, if necessary. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and respirations will be recorded. Your test will be explained, and you will have time to ask questions and sign the consent form. You will then be taken into the x-ray room to begin the procedure.

What you may eat or drink before the procedure:

  • Solid food up until 6 hours prior to your appointment time
  • Drink clear liquids (water, soda, coffee without cream, juice without pulp, etc.) up until your test
  • After the test, there is no limit to the amount of liquids you may have
  • You must not drink alcoholic beverages 48 hours prior to your test, or for 24 hours after

What you should wear:

  • Loose-fitting pants (for example, sweat pants), or shorts with elastic waist bands
  • Avoid clothing containing metal buttons, zippers, or snaps
  • Hospital gowns will be provided by the staff, if needed.

There will be a limited number of lockers available in the dressing room. You may want to leave valuables such as jewelry, wallets, credit cards, checkbooks, etc. at home, or with your friend or relative. Be prepared to remove earrings, necklaces, and any other body jewelry if asked to do so.

Medications:

Please check our list of restricted medications and compare with the ones you take. Do not take any medications listed for 48 hours before your appointment, and for 24 hours afterward. Failure to do so may result in your test being postponed. Bring all your medicines, or a list of medicines and dosages, with you and show to our nurse.

Notify your doctor or the BRMC Radiology Department if you have an allergy to iodine or X-ray dye as soon as possible after your appointment is made. You may need to take anti-allergy medications before your test beginning 13 hours before your appointment.

If you take blood thinners, such as Coumadin or Plavix, please call your referring physician at least one week prior to your myelogram, as he or she may want to discontinue, or reduce the dose, of these medications. We may want to draw blood for lab work when you arrive.

What to expect after your myelogram and CT:

When the test is complete, you will be checked by your nurse and given additional instructions. Remember, you MAY NOT drive yourself home.

You should rest for the remainder of the day in a sitting or upright reclining position. When lying down, keep your head on 2 to3 pillows until the morning. Avoid strenuous activities for at least one day after the test. Resume your usual diet and drink plenty of fluids.

The most frequent adverse effects following myelography are headache, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms are usually mild and temporary. If they become severe, or if other symptoms develop, call your referring physician’s office, or your hospital E.R.

Obtaining your results:

The interpretation of your exams should be back to your doctor in about three days. If you have not arranged a follow-up appointment with your physician, you may wish to call the office after that time period.

If you have questions, please call the Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE.