The discogram is a diagnostic test to view and assess the internal structures of a disc and also to determine if it is the source of pain.

When you arrive, a nurse will obtain a description of your pain and how you are managing daily activities. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight will be recorded. Medications, allergies and a brief health history will be reviewed. It is important to let the nurse know if you have allergies to contrast (dye), Betadine or latex, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa or Lovenox or if you might be pregnant.

An intravenous line (IV) will be started to give antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection from the procedure. After discussing treatment with your physician and signing procedural consent, you will go to the X-ray room where you will be helped onto the X-ray table into the best position for visualizing your spine. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. Your skin will be cleansed with antiseptic and after numbing the skin with local anesthetic, the physician will place a small needle into the disc using fluoroscopic guidance. Contrast dye will be injected into the disc(s). The entire procedure will take about 30 to 45 minutes.

Following the discogram, you will proceed to the Imaging/Lab Department for a CT scan. This test will provide images of the dye distribution to show disc bulges, tears, scarring and changes to the disc nucleus.

When you go home

  • Activities: Rest and avoid activities that might aggravate your pain. You can usually return to work and exercising on the next day.
  • Pain: Ice on the injection site and taking your regular pain medications will help with any discomfort. Some patients may experience more pain after the injection for a day or so.

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