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Contrast of the spinal canal (myelography)

What is myelography for?

Myelography (myelon = spinal cord) is carried out for diseases that are located in the area of the spinal cord or individual nerve roots and which cannot be clarified using computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging alone.

How does Myelography work?

n myelography, an iodine-containing X-ray contrast medium is injected with a thin needle into the fluid (CSF) surrounding the spinal cord. This makes the cerebrospinal fluid and the nerve fibers running through the fluid and the spinal cord visible in the X-ray image. This can be shown on x-rays.

How does Myelography work?

The puncture needle is usually inserted in the area of ​​the lumbar spine. This can be done while sitting or lying down. It is important to bend the body as far as possible in the lumbar region in order to "fold apart" the spaces between the individual vertebral bodies. This makes the puncture easier for the doctor (and the patient).
If nerve structures in the area of ​​the cervical spine need to be examined, the puncture needle is inserted into the neck at the level of the 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae (in rare cases).
The correct position of the puncture needle can be determined when spinal fluid emerges from the needle. Contrast agent is then carefully injected through a connecting tube connected to the puncture needle.
The distribution of the contrast medium is observed under fluoroscopic control. After the contrast agent has been completely administered, the needle is removed and then x-rays of the spine are taken in different directions by “bending forward” or “leaning back”. In many cases, a computed tomography of the sections of the spinal canal of interest is also performed.

How do I have to prepare?

You do not need to be specially prepared for myelography, but you should be fasting about 4 hours before the examination.

If you are in neurological or psychiatric treatment and you are taking certain medications (e.g. so-called neuroleptics or antidepressants), you should contact your treating neurologist or psychiatrist before the examination to clarify whether it is safe to interrupt your medication for a day before or after the examination.

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