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I'm 57 years old male and 2 months ago I was diagnosed with a herniated vertebral disc in the lumbar area. I have been taking pain meds since, the doctor didn’t want me to go to surgery so soon. The defect in the disc wasn’t that big and he thought that there was no need for operation. In the last two weeks the pain had increased in spite of the fact that I was on painkillers. I went for the regular checkup and the doctor said that my condition has worsened and that he needs to do a myelogram to see the damage caused by the herniated disc. What exactly is a myelogram and are there any side effects?

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Myelogram is a special technique used in radiology for screening the vertebral column and the spinal nerves that are coming out of it. Myelogram is nothing more than an x-ray exam that may be combined with MRI and CT tests. The difference between the normal x-ray and myelogram is that in order for the myelogram to be taken a special dye has to be injected into the epidural space. The dye serves as a contrast agent so the doctor could see the changes in the structure of your spinal cord and the nerves. Spinal cord and the spinal nerves are invisible to the normal X-ray scan. Before taking a myelogram a technician will inject the dye into your spine and then you will be examined lying on your back. The procedure could take entire day and you shouldn’t feel any pain because tranquilizers and anesthetics are used to ease the pain. Myelogram is a invasive method of screening the spine and its structures so is used only then where there are no other options. Possible side effects are headache, extremity aches or discomfort, nausea, vomiting and dizziness but they should disappear within 24 hours. If you are pregnant, have kidney and heart problems, use diabetes medication or if you are allergic to the dye you should not take the myelogram.
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