An injection technique used to evaluate patients with back pain who have not responded to any of the conservative treatment options. Discography is often used for planning prior to procedures such as Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy or a lumbar fusion by a spinal surgeon.
During The Procedure
The patient lies face down on an x-ray table while numbing medication and then x-ray dye are injected into each targeted disc using fluoroscopic guidance for precise delivery. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes. Although sedated for comfort, the patient will be awake and able to communicate the entire time. This is necessary because he/she will need to describe to the doctor which disc is the source of pain.
Recovery time is about 45 minutes and the patient will need to be driven home. Usually people can return to normal activity the next day.
Information gained from this procedure will help the doctor decide whether Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy is called for. This data is also necessary when the doctor is consulting with a spinal surgeon on whether lumbar fusion would be advisable for a patient.