WHAT IS DISCOGRAPHY?
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF DISCOGRAPHY?
Discography involves the injection of contrast
dye into the center of a disc under direct x-ray control. It is
strictly a diagnostic procedure which helps the physician try to
locate the source of your pain. Your skin
will be injected with a numbing medication such as
Lidocaine or Marcaine during the procedure. This may feel like a
burning sensation in your back. The physician will tell you when
they plan to start the injection(s). You will be asked to report
how the injections feel. The most important thing is to report to
the physician if the injection reproduces your usual pain.
WHICH PATIENTS ARE CANDIDATES FOR DISCOGRAPHY?
Discography is used to determine whether or not
pain is coming from a disc as well as identifying abnormalities
in the disc. Some of the abnormal findings during the
discography include the presence of a disc herniation, tear of
the disc, or a fissure. These abnormalities
can be directly viewed by the physician during the exam.
WILL THE DISCOGRAM BE PAINFUL?
If you have had treatments or therapies that
have failed to relieve your pain, you physician may order a
discography study. Typically, patients with discogenic pain experience
pain with sitting and forward bending. However, it should be
kept in mind that the symptoms are not specific and you may have
other symptoms such as pain with extension or rotation of the
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OR SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH DISCOGRAPHY?
Discography is only briefly painful. A local
anesthetic will be used to numb the skin. The purpose of the
exam is to reproduce your current pain at the specific location
in your back where it occurs. This
induced pain will subside after a few minutes. Areas which do not have abnormalities will not cause
WHAT IF DISCOGRAPHY DOES NOT REPRODUCE MY PAIN OR DOES NOT
ELICIT ANY PAIN DURING INJECTION OF THE DISK?
The associated risks involved with the
injection(s) are bleeding,
infection, and damage to the nerve. The procedure is performed
under sterile conditions with the use of direct x-ray guidance
which minimize the possible risk.
During the procedure you will be given an
antibiotic to reduce the chance of infection. You will be asked to report any signs of infection such as redness, swelling,
fever and drainage at
the injection site. You should have a thermometer at your home to
monitor your temperature.
This indicates that the pain is not likely
coming from the disk. The reproduction of pain is the
single most important factor in determining whether a subsequent
intervention (such as the intra- discal electrothermal therapy
–IDET,or surgery) on a disk will be successful in reducing the
patient’s pain. In the event that the discogram does not
reproduce pain, consideration should be made for other
IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IV
DYE YOU SHOULD REPORT THIS TO YOUR PHYSICIAN