Discography, also called discogram, is a diagnostic procedure used to determine if back pain is caused by one or more discs. The procedure involves pressurizing discs with an injection of sterile liquid to induce pain in the affected discs. Discography helps the specialist plan a course of treatment.
This procedure is done with medication that relaxes the patient but maintaining consciousness so the patient is awake enough to tell the doctor what they are feeling. Local anesthetic numbs the skin and all the tissue down to the disc area.
Using fluoroscopy to identify the correct location, the doctor inserts a guide needle through the anesthetized track to the outer edge of the disc. A smaller needle is inserted through the guide needle into the center of the disc. This may be repeated for more than one disc.
Once all the needles are placed, the discs are pressurized one at a time with injections of contrast die. With each injection, patients feel either pressure or pain. If pain is felt and it is the same as the original symptoms, this may be the diseased disc.
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