Myelogram as a medical procedure
Myelography is another term used for this type of diagnostic test, which is usually suggested by doctors in cases when spinal cord, meninges and nerve roots have to be examined, to see if any abnormalities are present. The procedure is done with the help of X-rays and a contrast material that needs to be administered in the subarachnoid space. Unlike the results of an ordinary X-ray, which show only the bones, the results of myelography provide a detailed image of the spinal cord, the nerves and the canal, which allows the doctors to make a diagnosis. With the help of this test, conditions such as disc herniation, bone spurs and spinal stenosis can be detected as well as tumors and infections. This procedure is done very quickly, it takes about an hour and the patient can go home the same day. It is necessary to stay in the hospital for a few hours for observation, but after that, if everything is all right, the patient can go home. There are some rules that have to be followed after the procedure, at least for the first 24 hours, to avoid possible complications or side effects.
Risk and side effects associated with myelogram
The fact is that risk and side effects are minimal with this procedure, and they occur in approximately 5 to 10 % of the patients. They consist of mild headaches, and negative reaction to the contrast material, which is usually manifested through nausea, itching, or even sneezing. It is also possible that bleeding around the nerve roots or an injury to the nerve can occur when the needle is inserted into the spinal canal, but these complications are very rare. Pregnant women should not undergo myelogram, and the doctor should be informed about the presence of diabetes, asthma, or problems with kidneys, heart or the thyroid gland, if any of them exist. Also, people who suffer from some allergy should notify the doctor about it, because such information help in reducing the risks. Since excessive exposure to radiation makes people more at risk of developing some type of cancer, this applies for myelogram as well.