Lumbar Puncture and Myelogram
Lumbar puncture and myelograms in St. Louis
A lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap) is a minimally invasive, image-guided diagnostic test that involves the removal of a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid—the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord—or an injection of medication or other substance into the lumbar (or lower) region of the spinal column. Myelography is an imaging examination that involves the introduction of a spinal needle into the spinal canal and the injection of contrast material in the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots (the subarachnoid space) using a real-time form of x-ray called fluoroscopy. Myelography provides a very detailed picture (myelogram) of the spinal cord, nerve roots, subarachnoid space and spinal column. The radiologist views the passage of contrast material in real-time within the subarachnoid space as it is flowing using fluoroscopy but also takes permanent images, called x-rays or radiographs, of the contrast material around the spinal cord and nerve roots in order to document abnormalities involving or affecting these structures. In many of these cases, the myelogram may be followed by a computed tomography (CT) scan to better define the anatomy and any abnormalities.
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