What is Diagnostic Discography?

Discography is a diagnostic technique used to evaluate back pain. More specifically, the procedure helps to identify if an abnormal disc in the spine is source of pain.

What is the procedure for a discogram?

During the discogram, a contrast dye in injected into the soft center of one or more discs. The patient will be asked to describe their pain as the injection occurs. The injection of a disc may trigger more intense pain, or may feel relative to the daily pain a patient experiences. This association of pain with a particular disc can be subjective, as it is at the hands of the patient to identify pain.

The contract dye is also used to form a more conclusive diagnosis. During the procedure, the doctor will use a type of medical imaging called fluoroscopy. When there are tears, or fissures, in the lining of a disc, the imaging will show the dye spreading outside of the disc itself.

How long does a Discogram procedure take?

Diagnostic discography can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to perform. The length of the procedure depends primarily on the number of discs which are being injected. The greater number of discs, the longer the procedure.

Is Discography right for you?

While a discogram is used for the purpose of diagnosis, it should not be used early in the diagnostic process. Discography is a viable option for people with chronic pain who have exhausted other pain treatment methods such as physical therapy, medication, and more. Consult your doctor to find out if this procedure is right for you.