Spinal discography is a test used for the diagnosis of pain related to spinal disc diseases. A discogram is very useful when a patient has back or neck pain and the doctor is not sure where the pain is coming from. The purpose of a spinal discogram is to determine if the pain originates from a degenerated disc, and if so, which disc is causing pain.
How is a Spinal Discography Performed?
Spinal discography is simple and safe. It is done under x-ray guidance. A tiny spinal needle is inserted into the spinal disc while the patient is sedated (but awake). Discs injected include normal (healthy) ones and pathological (diseased) ones identified using MRI or CT images. The patient is awake during the injection. A dye (contrast) is injected into each disc and the patient is asked if the contrast provokes his or her typical pain. A normal disc usually does not produce pain whereas a pathological one typically reproduces the pain. The flow of dye in the disc is visualized under x-ray to determine if the patient has disc tears or disruptions.
With a discography test, an experienced physician can distinguish diseased discs from healthy ones and determine whether or not the pain is related to spinal disc diseases.
Preparing for Spinal Discography
Your physician will provide specific instructions for your procedure preparation. Please advise them of all medications you are taking before the day of your test.