Injection - Discography
What is a Discogram?
A discogram is a diagnostic test
performed to view and assess the internal structure
of a disc and determine if it is a source of pain. The
test is performed on an outpatient basis in a hospital
or medical facility by either a radiologist or surgeon.
A local anesthetic is used to numb the target area.
Fluoroscopy, an imaging technique that projects an x-ray
type picture onto a monitor, is used to guide the spinal
needle into the suspect intervertebral disc. A radiopaque
dye is then injected through the spinal needle into
the nucleus (center) of the disc.
How is it Done?
The patient is given intravenous
medication as a relaxant and pain reliever. A local
anesthetic is injected into the patient's skin in the
area that is being examined. A
needle is inserted through a previously placed needle
in the skin and into the disc under fIuoroscopy. A saline
solution and radiopaque dye are injected into the disc
or discs if more than one disc is being examined. A
CT scan is usually performed on the painful disc after
the dye is injected to obtain images of the dye distribution.
This will demonstrate anular tears, scarring, disc bulges
and changes in the nucleus of the disc. During the test,
the dye pattern is evaluated for leaks occurring outside
the intervertebral disc walls. At this time, the patient's
symptoms (e.g. back pain, tingling sensation) may be
replicated due to the pressure created by the dye injection
- Recreation of painful symptoms if the disc/discs
- Confirmation of a diagnosis and/or determination
of which disc/discs is the source of pain.
How Long Does It Take?
Thirty minutes plus an additional thirty minutes if
a CT is indicated plus recovery time of several hours.
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