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What are some risks associated with having a myelogram?

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Risks associated with having a myelogram include a headache that lasts up to 24 hours after the test, nausea and vomiting, according to WebMD. Rarely, a patient may experience a seizure following the injection of dye into the spinal canal. There is also a small risk of seizure if the dye, or contrast material, migrates up to the brain. For this reason, patients who undergo the procedure lying down keep their heads raised above their bodies.

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Less common risks of having a myelogram are spinal canal bleeding and infection where the needle enters the body, notes WebMD. If the needle wound near the spinal sac fails to shut normally, spinal fluid may leak out. A doctor may repair the situation by injecting the patient’s blood to block up the hole in a process known as an epidural blood patch. There is also a small risk of having an allergic reaction to the dye, in which case medicine is available.

In rare instances, patients who undergo a myelogram may experience inflammation of the spinal cord as well as weakness, numbness and paralysis, explains WebMD. Loss of bladder and bowel control can develop. The dye in the procedure can also block the spinal canal; in this event, a doctor may perform surgery. Low levels of radiation from X-rays introduce the slight possibility of cell or tissue damage. In addition, patients who take metformin (Glucophage) to control their diabetes may experience kidney problems.

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