A cisternogram evaluates the flow patterns of the cerebrospinal fluid and aids in the diagnosis of hydrocephalus as well as other flow patterns of the cerebrospinal fluid.


A cisternogram usually involves three to four visits to the department. On your first visit, a nuclear medicine technologist will review what to expect during a cisternogram as well as any medical information provided by your doctor. You will then be asked to change into a hospital gown. Once you have changed, an anesthesiologist will review your medical history and medications. The anesthesiologist will numb the area of your back that will receive an injection of indium. Once the injection is complete, you will be able to leave the department. You will be asked to return in 24 and 48 hours to take painless images, which will take about one hour each time. You may be asked to return three days after the injection for additional images. If this is the case, do not be alarmed. It is not uncommon to do another set of images.


  • You may eat and drink as usual.
  • Take your medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Bring a list of medications to your first visit including any medications that have been stopped by your doctor and the date you stopped taking them.
  • Before your appointment, the nuclear medicine doctor will discuss your case and medical history with your doctor as well as review any medications you are currently taking
  • Heparin, Coumadin, Plavix and aspirin are blood-thinning medications that should be stopped before the injection.
  • Remember to bring the written order (prescription), for this test, given to you by your doctor.


  • Patients of childbearing age should review the pregnancy and breastfeeding guidelines.

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