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Discogram / Discography


A discogram is a test to evaluate back pain and determine if an abnormal disc in your spine is the cause of your pain. By injecting dye into the soft center of the disc and viewing the result on a CT scan or x-ray, your doctor can see if the disc is damaged or deteriorated. Sometimes the test reproduces your back pain, which is an additional confirmation that the disc is the source of the problem. We may test several discs to pinpoint the one causing pain.

Procedure Details and Expectations

We’ll perform your discogram in the office. You’ll be awake during the 30-minute procedure and your doctor may give you a mild sedative through an IV. You’ll also receive a local anesthetic at the injection site.Using fluoroscopy (live x-ray) to precisely guide the needle, your doctor will inject the contrast dye into one or more discs. An X-ray or CT scan will show whether the dye spreads beyond the disc, which indicates disc damage or degeneration.

You’ll rest for about 30 minutes to an hour while we monitor your condition, then you’re free to go home (have someone drive you) to take it easy for the rest of the day. You may feel some pain at the injection site… this is normal. Keep the injection site dry for 24 hours. You should be able to return to normal activity the next day.

How to Prepare for Treatment

Because this is a non-surgical procedure, little preparation is needed. However, do not take food or drink the morning of the procedure. You may take your usual medications with a small sip of water. EXCEPTION: we may instruct you to discontinue taking blood thinners and/or anti-inflammatory medications before your injection. We’ll discuss that before scheduling the procedure.

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