What is a discogram and how is it performed?A discogram is a diagnostic test performed to view and assess a disc to determine if it is a source of pain. This test is done by injecting a dye into the center of the disc while using a type of x-ray called fluoroscopy. The injection pressurizes the disc and, if the disc is abnormal, will result in a recreation of the pain. Keep in mind that this is a painful procedure that may result in discomfort in your back for a few days afterward. For this reason, we ask that you bring your pain medicine with you. This procedure takes 30 to 40 minutes.
In the procedure room, you will meet the neuroradiologist (either Dr. Rothfus or Dr. Bartynski) and the technician (who operates the fluoroscopy equipment). The technician will position you on your stomach or back, depending on the area of your spine being injected. Your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels will be monitored, and you will receive light sedation and pain medication through an intravenous line in your arm. Using a sterile technique, the doctor will prep your skin with a cleaning solution to prevent infection. After the local anesthetic, the doctor will then use the x-ray machine to guide and place the needle. Once inserted, the contrast dye is injected and the doctor will ask questions regarding you pain level and location of discomfort. Following the injection of the discs, you will be taken for a CT scan, after which you will return to the short stay surgery unit where you will be provided with something to eat and drink.
After one hour you may go home. Upon discharge, you will be asked to rest for 24 hours and refrain from driving or operating machinery for 24 hours.