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Getting a Myelogram in Central California

Myelography is diagnostic testing that uses X-rays or CT scans to diagnose spinal problems. During a myelogram, you’ll get an injection of a contrast dye into your spine to help the internal structures show up better.

At Dignity Health Central California, our technicians are experienced at performing a wide range of neurological examinations to treat all types of spinal conditions.

Find a Doctor if you need myelography in Bakersfield, CA: 


Why You Might Need a Myelogram

Doctors use myelography to examine the spinal canal, spinal cord, and the nerve roots extending from the spinal cord. You may need a myelogram if you experience nerve-related symptoms in your back, legs, arms, or shoulders that indicate a spinal problem. These may include: 

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Doctors typically use other imaging tests first, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, to diagnose spinal problems. Myelography can be helpful if you can’t have an MRI (for instance, if you have a pacemaker), or if X-ray or CT scans haven’t provided clear enough images.


What Happens During a Myelogram at Dignity Health Central California

Radiologists do myelography in a hospital or outpatient radiology clinic. Usually you have to fast before a myelogram. The radiology clinic will give you specific instructions about any restrictions on what you can drink the morning of the test. 

To begin, you’ll lie on your side or stomach on a table under an X-ray machine. The injection site will be numbed. You’ll feel a pinch and possibly warmth as your radiologist injects contrast dye into your spine. The radiologist will then tilt the table to take X-rays from different angles. 

Myelography takes 30 to 90 minutes. You’ll recover for two to four hours in the hospital or clinic, and rest at home for a day or two after that.


Myelography Risks

The benefits of myelography almost always outweigh any risks. Your care team will watch you carefully and treat any complications. 

Potential myelography risks include:

  • Headache
  • Damage to spinal tissues
  • Allergic reaction to the dye
  • Persistent spinal fluid leakage
  • Infection


What Myelography Results Mean

A Dignity Health Central California radiologist will evaluate your myelography results, and your doctor will review the findings with you.

Myelography can provide information about many conditions including:

  • Spinal disc conditions, including degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, and arthritis.
  • Spinal bone and joint abnormalities, such as bone spurs, ankylosing spondylitis, and spinal stenosis.
  • Tumors or cysts on the spinal cord or brain.
  • Inflammation or infection of spinal and brain tissues.

With an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. Doctors at Dignity Health Central California offer personalized treatments for spinal problems, which may combine medications, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery.

Dignity Health Central California performs myelography in Bakersfield, and Stockton, CA.