Discography is an x-ray procedure that deliberately provokes the patient's pain symptoms in order to pinpoint their source in the intervertebral discs.
The procedure is designed to create a road-map to show the physician where pain patterns are originating, making the discogram an excellent fusion surgery planning tool.
Discography is reserved for patients who have not responded to medications and conservative treatments, such as bed rest, traction, or physical therapy, and for whom the possibility of lumbar surgery is being considered. Besides studying abnormal discs, discograms can detect problems within intervertebral discs that appeared normal on the CT/MRI scan.
You will be awake throughout the discogram and will lie slightly tilted to one side. The radiologist will place a thin needle into the disc, using x-ray guidance. Contrast will be injected and x-rays taken. During the injection you will be asked to explain what you are feeling, i.e. is your pain reproduced? A CT scan may be performed following the injection.
Because you may experience some numbness from the anesthetic, you will need someone to drive you home from your exam. Please make the necessary arrangements or request assistance in advance from CDI.