Back Pain - Lumbar Myelogram

This test produces images of the spinal cord and nerve roots after a dye is injected into the fluid-filled space that surrounds the spinal cord.

This test produces images of the spinal cord and nerve roots after a dye is injected into the fluid-filled space that surrounds the spinal cord.

A myelogram (also called myelography) is a test that produces clear images of the spinal cord and nerve roots. The images are obtained after a dye is injected into the fluid-filled space that surrounds the spinal cord. When a myelogram is followed by a CT scan it is called a CT myelogram, which provides better visualization of the lumbar spine (lower back), including:

  • The nerve roots
  • Small herniated discs
  • Other small injuries not generally seen on a MRI or plain CT scan

A myelogram may be used when:

  • An MRI or CT scan alone are not available or are contraindicated
  • The patient has had previous lumbar surgery
  • The diagnosis is unclear after other imaging procedures are used.
  • Symptoms do not correlate well with the findings from other imaging procedures.

This care path includes the costs of a myelogram and CT scan of the lumbar spine.

Your healthcare provider may recommend a myelogram if you have:

  • Numbness, pain or weakness in an arm or leg
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
  • A tumor or infection that affects your spinal cord
  • A herniated or bulging disc
  • Swelling or irritation of the spinal cord membrane
  • Blood vessel abnormalities in the spine

You may also need a myelogram if a previous MRI or CT scan did not determine the cause of your symptoms.

Prior to the procedure, tell your doctor about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about other specific instructions to follow before and after the procedure. These include:

  • Medications you should not take before the procedure, such as blood thinners or aspirin
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure
  • You may be given a medicine that makes you relaxed and sleepy (a sedative)
  • You must lie very still during the exam because moving could blur the images.

Even if you are awake during the test, you will not be allowed to drive home after your myelogram. Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility.

This care path's costs include the facility charges (the test or procedure) plus the physician charges (interpreting the test or performing the procedure). You may get separate bills for the facility and physician charges.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having this test?

  • What is my diagnosis and the reason for the test? Are the test results likely to change my treatment plan? If not, do I need the test?
  • Are there alternatives to this test?
  • Do I need to fast before the test? If yes, for how long?
  • Do I need to have the test with a CT scan? If so, should I be concerned about the radiation?
  • Is there any special preparation for the test? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)


Also known as:

Pain in Lower Back
Pain in Back
Lower Back Pain
Back Shot
Back Pain - Lumbar Myelogram
Back Pain helps consumers determine the average cost of common medical procedures in their location. By gathering and analyzing data from leading insurance providers across the US, patients can compare the estimated price of common medical procedures to determine their approximate out-of-pocket expenses. All rates are approximations and not guarantees based on data that is available to the consumer. There are currently 638 procedures available in our database. These results and the information contained within should in no way take the place of actual medical advice.

Do not avoid getting health care based on the information on this site. Not affiliated with any insurance provider, hospital, or medical professional. Prices are just estimates based on available data, and may vary based on plan, state, and provider. For informational purposes only.