What is it? Discography also call a discogram is used to determine whether back pain is caused by one or more spinal disks.

Why is it done? Spinal disks look a little like jelly doughnuts’, with a tough outer layer and gel-like substance inside. Disks act as cushions between the bones in your spine. MRI’s, CT scans, Myelograms or x-rays, are tests commonly used to look at discs in the spin. These tests can indicate the probable source of pain, but cannot verify if a disc is causing the pain. A discogram is performed when it is thought pain is coming from the spine and other methods to relieve the pain have failed.

How is it done? With the patient on his stomach, a small injection is made in the back with numbing medication. This numbs the skin and tissues below it. This procedure is not uncomfortable. Your physician may speak with you about receiving sedation. It will be necessary that you be able to tell the doctor what you are feeling. Once the skin and the tissue below it is numb, a small needle is inserted into the center of the disk using x-ray guidance. This may be done to several disks. A dose of dye is injected to check the status of the disc. The doctor will ask you if you are feeling pain, and ask you to compare the pain to what you normally feel. X-ray images will be taken with each disc tested. After testing the needles will be removed and you may have a cat scan ordered to obtain further images of the inside of the disc.

What can I expect after the injection? The procedure usually takes around an hour. You will have a recovery period and then may be sent for a CAT scan. There may be some soreness in the area that was tested. This is normal. If you develop severe back pain or develop a fever you need to let the doctor know right away. The doctor will speak with you regarding the results and if needed refer you to a spine surgeon for their opinion.

When can I resume my normal activities? Resume your normal activities & avoid strenuous activities until the day after your procedure. If you have concerns about what to do for the next 24 – 48 hours after your clinic visit please ask the nurse for clarification.