What Happens During a Cervical Myelogram?


Quick Answer

A cervical myelogram is an imaging test that uses X-rays, CT scan and a contrasting dye to check for any abnormalities or diseases of the vertebrae of the neck region, spinal cord and spinal nerves. This diagnostic imaging procedure is also called a myelography, states Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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Full Answer

Prior to the actual imaging procedure, a patient requires a local anesthetic and the thorough cleaning of the injection site, which is near the neck region, states Emory Healthcare. The exact site is dependent on the specific cervical problem being examined because there are seven vertebrae in the neck region. For lower back pain, the injection site may be in the lumbar region.

Through the use of X-rays, a needle is then guided into the space that contains spinal fluid and a contrast dye is injected into the fluid. This facilitates better viewing of the spinal column and its different parts, such as the cord, nerve roots and subarachnoid spaces. After the removal of the needle , a radiologist can view the cervical or other spinal areas with the aid of a CT scan and X-rays for any problems that may be causing pain, such as a tumor, herniated disc, infection or diseases, as noted by WebMD.

This imaging procedure can take between 30 minutes and an hour. Some possible risks or side effects of a myelogram are headaches and nausea. Some very rare side effects are allergic reactions and seizures, states WebMD.

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