How Does the Discogram Test Work?
The patient is sedated and a needle is placed into the center of the disc’s nucleus that is in question. The location of the needle is key to having a successful evaluation. After the needle is placed, the patient is awakened. Patients will not experience any lingering pain when they awake.
A dye is then injected into the soft center of the disc. This injection can sometimes recreate pain. An X-ray or CT scan will also be used to identify any cracks in the disc’s annulus. To ensure an accurate diagnosis the test will be “blinded” for patients. Patients will not know the sequential order of injections. Once the discogram test is complete doctors can move forward with a diagnosis.
After the Discogram Procedure
Over 90% of the time, discogram results include a non-painful normal disc and a painful torn disc or discs. In this case, the painful disc or discs is the source of neck or lower back pain. The circumstances will determine the optimal treatment option. One of our team members will discuss the benefits and disadvantages to all treatment options.
If patients do not report pain or the X-ray / CT scan does not show any cracks in the disc, then the disc is not the pain generator. In this case, additional tests will be conducted to ensure an accurate diagnosis.