Discography is an evaluation procedure, not a treatment. Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a very good tool for showing disc abnormalities, it does not necessarily allow your physician to directly determine which abnormality on your MRI is causing your pain. Discography, also called a discogram, is a testing method that enables physicians to view and assess the internal structure of a disc in order to determine the exact source of your back pain. The procedure involves pressurizing suspect discs with an injection of sterile liquid to induce very short-term pain. The patient then reports his or her symptoms reproduced with each pressurization to the doctor. Once the specific cause of pain is identified, the physician can then develop a treatment plan.
What are the side effects or risks associated with a discography?
Discography procedures are typically very safe. As with any minimally invasive medical procedure, there are risks that you’ll want to discuss with your physician before any type of treatment is administered. The potential side effects or risks occur infrequently:
Temporary pain at the injection sites
If a nerve has been brushed against during the procedure, there can be short-term pain
Infection can occur, although rare, especially if the procedure is not conducted in a controlled, sterile environment
Am I a good candidate for discography?
A discography can be a very effective way to identify the disc(s) causing pain and start a course of treatment. People who are on blood-thinning medication, have poorly controlled diabetes or heart disease will need to speak with a physician that specializes in spine-related disorders to decide if this procedure is the right treatment for him/her.
Will the discography be painful?
The discography procedure involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues and there may be some pain involved. However, your doctor will numb the skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle before inserting the needle into the disc. Most patients also receive intravenous sedation to help make the procedure less painful.
After a discography will I have less pain?
No. The discography procedure is a diagnostic test to determine the disc(s) causing the pain and start a course of treatment to help relieve that pain. A discography does not treat your condition.
Location and Hours
8500 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 200
Lone Tree, CO 80124