If you are experiencing chronic back pain that has not responded to conservative treatments, the physicians at the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia may recommend a discogram to pinpoint the spinal discs that are responsible for your pain. We offer discography as a diagnostic tool for patients in Brunswick and Kingsland, Georgia.
What is a Discogram?
A discogram is a diagnostic test that evaluates back pain to determine if a damaged disc in the spine is responsible for pain. Spinal discs are soft cushions between spinal vertebrae that absorb shock and allow movement. A discogram injects dye into the center of one or several discs to reproduce back pain and reveal cracks in the exterior of the disc that will be visible on a CT scan or MRI.
An abnormal or degenerative disc may appear on a regular CT scan or MRI but it may not be the disc causing pain. Some patients also have multiple abnormal spinal discs that appear on a scan. Discography helps your physician pinpoint which disc is causing pain to help plan the best course of action.
How is a Discogram Procedure Performed in Brunswick?
Discography is performed as an outpatient procedure with the use of fluoroscopy which provides real-time x-ray guidance. You will lie on your stomach as with a facet joint injection and receive local anesthesia. After the soft tissue over the disc is numb, a small needle is placed into the center of several discs and injected with radio-opaque dye. Your doctor will take an x-ray to check the disc anatomy and visualize where the dye moves and if any leaks out of the discs.
The pressure of your discs will be measured before and after the injections as well. Your response to the injections are also used to pinpoint problematic discs as some injections may reproduce the pain symptoms you normally experience.
Who is a Good Candidate for Discography?
Discography may be recommended if your back pain continues and does not respond to conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and injections or blocks. This procedure is also performed sometimes before spinal fusion surgery. Your physician will help you determine if a discogram is a good option to diagnose the source of your pain.
What is Recovery Like After a Discogram?
Discogram recovery time is very short. You may experience mild to moderate back pain after your discography procedure that is similar to the chronic pain you feel. This should last for just a day or two before the pain returns to its typical level. You may experience discomfort or tenderness at the injection sites which can be eased with ice packs. Most patients should avoid work and strenuous activity for a day after a discogram.
Discography can be a valuable diagnostic tool to determine the best course of action for treating chronic pain from damaged discs for patients in Brunswick and Kingsland. Contact the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia to schedule a consultation to learn more about this procedure.