This information will give you important instructions and should answer many of your questions. If you have other questions or concerns, please call your referring physician or the UVa Neuroradiology Division at (434) 924-5213 or toll free at 1-800-251-3627, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.  If you must reach someone after 4:30 pm, call local (434) 924-9400 or toll free 1(877)817-3865 and ask for the Neuroradiologist on call.

What is a Myelogram?

A myelogram is an important diagnostic test for a wide range of diseases affecting the spine, spinal cord, and nerve roots. A specially trained doctor, called a Neuroradiologist, performs this procedure in the Radiology Department of the hospital.  A routine myelogram may take 1-2 hours or more to complete.

What about before the Myelogram?

You will be given an appointment time by your referring physician or the clinic staff. Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us the day before your appointment by calling the numbers listed above.

You will need to arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home following your myelogram.You can not drive yourself home.

What can I have to eat?

You may eat solid foods up until 3 hours before your appointment. You may drink liquids up until your test. There is no limit on the amount of liquids you may drink after the myelogram.  You must have absolutely no alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to your test, and avoid alcoholic beverages until 24 hours after.

What can I wear?

Loose fitting pants or shorts with elastic waistbands are recommended and can be worn during the test.  Clothing containing metal buttons, zippers or snaps should not be worn.  Clothing from the waist up will need to be removed once you arrive in the test area.  Hospital gowns will be provided by the staff.

Leave all valuables such as jewelry, wallets, credit cards, checkbooks, etc. at home or with somebody you trust. Be prepared to remove earrings or necklaces if necessary.

What should I do about my medications?

Please check the list of medications. Please compare your list of medications to this list of medications. Do not take any medications listed for 48 hours before your appointment.

WRITE DOWN THE NAMES OF ALL YOUR MEDICATIONS, the dosage and the last time you took them.

Notify your physician or Neuroradiology Department at least one day prior to your test if you have allergies to iodine, x-ray contrast, or x-ray dye. It is important that we know about these allergies. You will need to take specific medications before your exam and they must be taken 13 hours before your appointment.

If you currently take Coumadin, Ticlid or any medicine to "thin" your blood or to keep clots from forming, please call your referring physician at least 1 week prior for further instructions, as we may need to draw labwork. (List of Blood Thinners

What do I bring?

Bring any MRI studies, and any other recent x-rays you have had taken. We will return the films to you. 

What time do I need to get there?

Please arrive 30 minutes earlier than your appointment to register.  If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us as soon as possible at the numbers listed earlier.

Where do I go?

You may be dropped off by your driver in the front of the hospital and the attendant will take you to radiology reception. You may park in the parking garage East. Come to the Hospital East Radiology Department Reception Area to register. Please be sure to have your parking ticket validated at the reception area when you register.


The radiologist will explain the procedure and have you sign a consent form.

What will happen once I register?

After registering you will be taken to the test area and be given the hospital gown to wear. Your vital signs (heart rate, BP, temperature, respirations) will be recorded and your test will be explained to you. You will then have time to ask questions and once we have answered all your questions, you will be transported by stretcher for your test.

What is Myelography like?

You will be awake during the procedure.
You will lie on your stomach during the procedure. You will also be given a numbing injection that may sting for a few seconds.  A needle will then be inserted into the spinal canal.  Contrast dye will be injected and then the needle will be removed. X-rays will be taken in different positions (side, back and stomach).  After the myelogram, you will be transported by stretcher to the CT scan area, where additional pictures will be taken.

What can I do after the Myelogram?

When the test is complete, a nurse or technologist will examine the puncture site. You may be asked to wait a short time until all the studies have been reviewed.

You will also be given specific instructions about how to take care of yourself.

You MAY NOT drive yourself home. You will need someone to drive you home following your procedure.  You should rest for the remainder of the day in a sitting or reclining position.  When lying down, keep your head on at least 2 to 3 pillows until the next morning.

Avoid strenuous activities for at least one day after myelography.  Resume your usual diet after your test.  Drink at plenty of fluids for the next 24 hours.
The most frequent adverse effects following myelography are headache, nausea and vomiting.

These symptoms are usually mild and temporary.  If they become severe or if other symptoms develop, call the Radiology Department at (434) 924-5213, after hours call (434) 924-9400 or 1-(877) 817-3865 and ask for the "On-Call" Neuroradiologist.

Billing and Insurance

If you are a self-pay patient, a bill will be issued at time of service and mailed to your home.

If you are covered by a commercial health insurance carrier, please bring your cards or proof of coverage should be brought with you the day of your study. We will file your claim for you. Please note that you will be billed for any balance not covered by your plan. If you belong to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) with which we have a contract, you must bring the referral and authorization form for the procedure to be covered.

If your visit is due to an accident (work-related, automobile, etc.), you must provide us with an authorization from the guarantor of your bill.

Note that separate bills are issued by the UVA (to cover facilities, equipment, and support personnel) and the Health Science Foundation (to cover the services of the physician neuroradiologists). So expect to see two bills for your study.

Thank you for choosing the University of Virginia Health System.

We welcome the opportunity to serve you. Thank you!