This is a procedure where a contrast agent is injected into the sac containing the nerve roots.  After the contrast, or "dye," is injected, X-ray pictures or a CT scan are then obtained.  The contrast outlines the nerve roots, the bones and the discs.  It shows where a nerve might be "pinched."  This remains the "gold-standard," or the best test, for disc disease.  It is used less than MRI because it is slightly painful (a needle in the back is needed) and has some risks.  The risks include a small chance of a seizure and the possibility of a post-myelogram headache.

The following medications cannot be used for a full 48 hours before the myelogram:

Most anti-depressants including:  Amitriptyline (Elavil), Amoxapine (Asendin), Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Desipramine (Norpramin), Doxepin (Sinequan, Adapin), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Imipramine (Imiprin, Tofranil), Isocarboxazid (Marplan), Maprotiline (Ludiomil), Nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl), Phenelzine (Nardil), Protriptyline (Triptil, Vivactil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Tranylcypromine (Parnate), Trazodone (Desyrel, Tracon), and Trimipramine (Surmontil, Apo-trin).

Most phenothiazines including:  Thorazine, Compazine, Promethazine (Phenergan), Serentil, Flexeril, Mellaril, Stelazine, Sparine, Prolixin, and Tindal.

After the myelogram you should do the following:

1.  Light activity for 24 hours after the procedure,

2.  Drink plenty of fluids,

3.  Expect a bit of soreness in the back,

4.  Occasionally some soreness in the arms or legs will last a day or two,

5.  If you have headaches, call the doctor.  You may need something called a blood patch.

6.  If you are on any antidepressant or phenothiazines, you can restart them 48 hours after the myelogram.

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Last modified: 07/27/08