Discography (Lumbar)

This procedure, also called a “discogram,” helps your doctor find painful spinal discs. In order to show the source of pain in your back. For the procedure, you lie down and you are given a mild sedative to help you relax. Note that you are still awake so that you can tell your doctor what you feel during the procedure. Your lower back is numbed with local anesthetic. The doctor uses a video x-ray device called a “fluoroscope” to carefully guide a needle into the target disc. If more than one disc is being tested, a needle is placed into each one. Next, the doctor injects contrast dye into each disc, one at a time. The dye raises the pressure inside the discs and you may feel pressure or pain. If you feel pain, that may be a sign that the disc is diseased. The physician will take images with the fluoroscope so your discs can be studied carefully. When the procedure is finished, the needles are removed. Before you leave, your doctor may want to get a more detailed scan of your discs. Discography can cause your back to be slightly sore for a few days. Your PCA physician will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.