Spine Discogram or Discography is an injection technique for patients with back pain that did not respond to the other non surgical treatments. Most commonly it is used for surgical planning before a lumbar fusion.
The procedure uses imaging guidance in order to inject a contrast material into one or more spinal discs. This is used to help identify the source of the back pain and to guide a treatment of abnormal intervertebral discs.
The intervertebral discs are sponge like cushions between each vertebrae acting as a shock absorber for the spine and providing flexibility. Discography as a procedure helps determine if a specific vertebral disc is the source of the patient’s pain.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A DISCOGRAM
During a Discogram the patient will lie down on the examination table on their stomach or side. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the skin on the back and then with the guidance of X-ray, a contrast fluid is injected into the center of the spinal disc/s.
In the discs with normal condition this will not cause pain, but in damaged discs the injection may temporarily reproduce some of the back pain symptoms. More than one disk may be tested including a normal disk, which will be tested as a reference.
The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes and the patient will be kept for observance for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour.