How Discography is Performed
Upon entering the procedure room, you will be positioned accordingly on the examination table, either on your back for a cervical discography or on your stomach for a lumbar or thoracic discography. The following events will take place:
- Monitors will be attached to track your heart rate, pulse and blood pressure during the procedure.
- Should you have hair at or near the injection site, it may be shaved.
- The area to be injected is cleaned and sterilized.
- After the area is covered with a surgical drape, your physician will then administer a local anesthetic to numb the injection area.
- Guided by fluoroscopy, the procedure begins as your physician inserts a needle through your skin into the center of your disc being examined.
- Once in place, the contrast dye is injected and the needle is removed.
If the dye stays in the center of your disc, the disc is normal. Should the dye spread outside the center of your disc, this signifies possible damage from wear-and-tear. This damage may or may not be the cause of your pain.
At times throughout your procedure, you may be asked to describe the pain in terms of location, severity and distribution. Upon injection of the disc causing your pain, you may experience a sensation similar to your day-to-day pain. For optimal results, your physician cannot disclose to you where or when the injection is taking place. For additional discs, this process may be repeated.
Depending on how many discs are evaluated, this procedure can take from 30 minutes to one hour to complete.
Expectations After Your Procedure
You will remain in the procedure room for observation for a period between 30 minutes and one hour. Some pain or discomfort at the injection site is normal and may continue for several hours after the procedure. Your back will need to remain dry for 24 hours after your procedure.