LUMBAR
DISCOGRAPHY (DISCOGRAM)

Why is this procedure done?
Discography/Discogram is a diagnostic test to identify if a disc is causing your back or leg pain. A disc can appear abnormal on MRI or CT (CAT scan) but may not be causing your pain. This test helps to more precisely identify if a disc or discs are your “pain generators.” Treatment options for a painful lumbar disc can include minimally invasive intradiscal procedures like Transdiscal/Biaccuplasty and IDET (Intradiscal Electro-Thermal Coagulation). Discograms are often done before spinal fusion surgery.

How do I prepare for this procedure?
You may not eat for 4 hours before the procedure. You can take your routine medications. If you have diabetes, please contact your treating provider for instructions on how to manage your diabetes medications. Your must bring a driver. For one week prior to the procedure, do not take any medications which can thin your blood such as: Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin, or arthritis medications. So not take any herbal, natural medicines or supplements for one week prior to the procedure.

What happens during this procedure?
You will be placed on your stomach and the skin over the injection site(s) is cleaned. An antibiotic will be given through your IV. You will be given medicine to relax and for pain. The skin above each disc will be numbed with a local anesthetic. A needle will be placed into each disc to be examined. A dye will be injected into each disc. Your pain response to the administration of the dye into the disc will be recorded by the staff. X-rays will be taken to exam the disc. A CT (or CAT) scan may be performed after the Discogram.

What are the side effects?
In general Discography is a safe procedure. Possible side effects include but are not limited to allergic reaction, infection, and bleeding. Precautions are taken including precise x-ray guided injections and the use of sterile technique. Please discuss any specific concerns with your physician.

What happens after this procedure? After a discogram you may have increased pain or discomfort. You may place ice where you are feeling the pain. You may take pain medications. You should rest for the next several days. Too much activity may make the pain worse. Watch for any signs of infection.

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