Download/print the Discogram patient information sheet

What is a discogram?

A discogram is a diagnostic procedure performed to determine if a specific disc is the source of your pain.  Information gained from this procedure will help decide if surgery is necessary and at what level(s) a fusion should be performed.

Where can I schedule this exam?

An discogram can be scheduled at: 

How should I prepare for my procedure?
  • Do not eat solid food 2 hours prior to the appointment
  • Bring someone to drive you home. We recommend refraining from driving for 12 hours after the injection.
  • If you have an active infection and are taking antibiotics, the medication course must be complete prior to the procedure.
  • If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix or Ticlid), you will have to hold the medication prior to the procedure. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping any medication to determine if it is safe for you.
  • Inform us if you are or may be pregnant, or have allergies to medications or x-ray dye (contrast).
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.
How long will my procedure take?

A discogram will take approximately one hour.

What happens during my procedure?

You will be positioned on your stomach on an x-ray table. The fluoroscopy camera will be positioned above you. The area to be injected will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area.

A small needle will be placed into the disc spaces in your neck or back. Contrast will then be injected into the disc space to try to reproduce your pain. After each injection into the individual disc spaces, you will be asked a few questions about any pain you experienced.

If necessary, we can administer a relaxant/pain reliever through an IV prior to the injection. However, our goal is to reproduce the pain that is causing your symptoms.

Occasionally a CT scan will be performed following the discogram to obtain more information about the internal structure of the discs.

What happens after my procedure?

A summary of the procedure and the findings will be sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will contact you to discuss the results.

You should have someone stay with you for 12 hours after the procedure. Rest for the remainder of the day and do not return to work until the following day. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 24 hours after the procedure. Prescribed medications that were stopped prior to the procedure can be resumed 24 hours after the exam.

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