Jason M. Gallina MD PC

Specialist in artificial disc replacement, non-fusion surgery and minimally invasive surgery

820 2nd Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10017
541 Cedar Hill Avenue
Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Phone: 212-616-4130 | Fax: 212-983-0483

Description | Indications | Mechanism | Limitations | Risks

Discograms - Spinal diagnostic test

Description:

A discogram involves the injection of dye into an injured disc, which makes the disc visible on x-ray and on fluoroscopy.

Indications:

A discogram is utilized to demonstrate structural damage to a disc, and whether that damage is causing the patient's pain. As fluid is injected into the disc, pressure increases, and the level of pain can be determined. Discograms are frequently done in anticipation of surgery, to locate the problem and to determine the type of surgery that would be most helpful.

Mechanism:

An area of the back is anesthetized with a local anesthetic, and a needle is inserted through the back into the center of the intervertebral disc. A fluoroscope is utilized to be sure that the needle arrives in the proper location. Fluid is then injected through the needle into the disc, thereby increasing pressure. Any pain that is produced is then monitored. Dye inserted into the disc is visualized on x-ray, providing further information about the nature of damage to the disc.

Limitations:

The discogram visualizes only the inside of the intervertebral disc, and no other bone or soft tissue areas.

Risks:

The possible risks associated with a discogram include a possible allergic reaction to the dye, which is rare, or infection introduced into the disc. The x-rays that are utilized in a discogram use radiation, which in large doses can increase the risk of cancer, though hundreds of x-rays would be required for this to occur.

Related FAQs and Articles:

I have an injured disc and my doctor said I needed to have a discogram test. What is a discogram, and what will it show?