Discography is used to evaluate patients who are experiencing neck, shoulder, or arm pain, as well as those with back, hip, or leg pain. The purpose of a discogram procedure is to find out which disc is causing your pain.
What To Expect
A local anesthetic is injected into the skin to minimize any discomfort. Then a needle is passed through the skin into the disc to be studied. Since the needle must pass by nerve roots, it may cause brief discomfort. Placing the needle into the disc may also be somewhat uncomfortable, but a generous dose of local anesthetic is used to minimize this reaction. Once the needle is inserted, contrast material is then injected into each disc being studied. This injection may reproduce the pain you have been experiencing and is thus an important part of the test. If pain occurs, a local anesthetic is injected into the disc to reduce the pain, and X-ray films are taken to show the internal structure of the disc.
Risks associated with this procedure include infection, worsening of symptoms, headache, and back or neck pain.
No special preparation is required before a discogram. The radiologist and technologist will be happy to answer any questions you may have before beginning the procedure.