Cervical myelography: survey of modes of practice and major complications

Radiology. 1990 Jan;174(1):79-83. doi: 10.1148/radiology.174.1.2294575.


A total of 68 major complications of cervical myelography were reported by 220 neuroradiologists in a mail survey. Two-thirds of the complications were attributed to cervical spine hyperextension and one-third to lateral C1-2 puncture. Narrow sagittal diameter of the spinal canal and severe cervical spondylosis were frequent contributing factors to hyperextension injury of the cervical spinal cord. Clinical and radiographic premyelography screening is suggested, with magnetic resonance imaging performed first in patients with spinal canal stenosis, severe spondylosis, and/or myelopathy of any cause. Neck extension should be minimal during myelography. All C1-2 punctures should be monitored with lateral fluoroscopy for accurate needle positioning and prevention of contrast medium injection into the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Myelography / adverse effects*
  • Myelography / methods
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*


  • Contrast Media