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Myelogram mishap

Hi all

Had a CT Myelogram on 11 March to see why I had not recovered from my last surgery in October last year and just wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience with this test.

Because I live alone most of the time (my husband works on the other side of Australia) and live a long way away from the hospital (in a semi-rural community with limited access to public transport) my NS arranged an overnight stay so that I could recover from the Myelogram and then drive myself home the next day. Seemed like a good plan at the time - but ...

Everything started off okay. Was placed on the table in the required position, the doctor (not my NS) gave me a local and then started to inject the dye. While he was injecting it I felt a horrid pain deep in my spine. I remember moaning out loud but there was no response from the doctor so I thought that pain might be normal in this kind of procedure so I just gritted my teeth. Things didn't start to get really interesting, though, until they started to tilt the table in order to get the dye into my lumbar spine. All of a sudden a heap of muscles in both of my legs and feet went into a severe spasm and I couldn't move anything from the waist down. My legs, ankles and feet were twisted up so badly and in such an unnatural way. I remember the doctor and his assistants trying to straighten out my feet and they couldn't get them to move either. Even though I was crying in pain they managed to get a couple of images before I couldn't take it anymore. It took several people to turn me over so that the dye could move but once they did that the spasm started to slowly let go and they were able to take some side images as well. The other thing that happened at the same time was my blood pressure dropped from 126/67 to 89/54 (or somewhere in that region). The doctor told me that he had never seen that kind of reaction before.

That night when I was finally allowed to get up to go to the bathroom I realised that I couldn't walk without assistance. My initial thought was that it was just fallout from the horrible spasm and that it would pass. The next day, instead of going home like I was supposed to, I was kept in the hospital and was still there 5 days later. I only got to go home because I cried a lot and my husband had flown home from his job on the other side of the country so he could look after me.

I am now on more pain meds than I have ever been on except for post surgery recovery so I can no longer drive myself anywhere and my husband has gone back to work so I am stuck here. I'm also back on crutches for the most part :(

I am currently waiting for an admission date for a rehabilitation program aimed at strengthening some of my muscles and developing a better interim pain management plan and so I wont be seeing any of my team until then. I have also been advised by both my NS and my PM specialist that, given my intolerance to most of the drugs that could help me, I am going to need a Spinal Cord Stimulator.

Now - back to my original question (sorry if I have rambled on ...) - has anyone out there had a reaction like this to a Myelogram?


  • Hi Cheryl,
    What a horrific experience you had, I have had two myelograms, the second one wasn't too bad, but the first was one of the worst experiences I have had in my life. When the needle was inserted into my spine, the anaethatist hit a nerve, I was sitting upright on the edge of a steel surgical table, I nearly went into orbit. He was a very unpleasant man and shouted at me for not sitting straight, I told him that if I could sit straight I wouldn't be having it done. I was kept in hospital overnight and told not let me head touch the pillow, I was vomiting most of the night and the headaches were unbelievable, this continued for weeks after I went home and then along came my back surgery. I must say that my legs weren't affected in any way, I was lucky in that respect. I hope that you improve.
    What cannot be cured must be endured.
  • The doctor that did your myelogram ought to be shot! Fancy letting someone like that play around with people's spines! My experience was awful but at least the medical staff were really nice to me and very supportive.

    What happened to me is definitely not normal. I think it has to have something to do with the nerves though because it happened again the other night, although nowhere near as bad. I had over done it in the afternoon when I was performing (I'm in a rock and blues band and did a 4hour gig) and later that night the same strange spasms started again and my feet got all twisted up. Had to use lots of heat packs and some Valium to calm it down.

    Just wish I could figure out which nerves in particular. Will have to wait until I see my neuro and PM doctors again. Maybe they can figure it out.

    Hope your surgery worked out well for you.
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  • Hi Everyone....I am scared to death. I had a myelogram 8 years ago and now I have to have one again. I have been freaked and crying all day with just the thought of it. Cheryl I had a very similiar experience. As so as the injection went in I felt the most intense pain I have ever felt, and I am so far from being a baby. I have had 4 back surgeries, hip surgery, gallbladder, 3 day labor, hysterectomy, brain tumors, discogram, EMG, Migraines from age 10, unterine embolization and woke up during the procedure, heart cath and surgery. This was ridiculous. The spasms were insane. My fear wasn't that I was going to die it was that I wasn't going to die and immediately. My body contorted in the strangest way and I just screamed. Blood pressure 66/48 and the worst part they wouldn't give me anything for pain due to the low blood pressure. Finally doctors came in....I was fuzzy in and out with the BP after that and they finally gave me something but it still didn't relieve it. After all that I still needed a blood patch and the first one didn't take. I think this diagnostic tool is terrible. I am still debating if I can get through it. The only way they will do it if is they give me lots of sedation other wise I am walking. I know my example is not the norm, but holy smokes I will never ever forget that. Good luck every one.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 06/11/2013 - 2:34 PM
    Wasn't bad at all, very similar to the ESI except they tilted the table and had to wait for the CT machine... HOWEVER, my surgeon REFUSES to let anyone but himself do his "complex spine" patients because he has had too many issues before. So now he schedules his spine patient myelograms basically once a month back to back so he can do them in the hospital and watch out for any adverse reactions. I'm so sorry all of yall had these poor experiences.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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