Discography

Treatment with a discography is common among those who experience issues with the spinal discs due to age or disc-degeneration caused by disease. The reason the use of discography is growing in popularity is because it has proven to be an effective method of determining if a patient is experiencing pain due to an issue with their disc, if the disc is not causing pain to occur, or if other possible causes need to be explored. By choosing a discography over alternative methods, the use of unnecessary surgery is reduced, and the patient’s level of success from their lumbar surgery is increased by over 75 percent.

Benefits and Outcomes

When other treatments are used to determine if the disc is causing pain, the chances of success from surgery only range around 30 to 35 percent. This is due to the scanning methods used that are not able to detect damage within the disc. When a discography is used, each area of the disc is checked separately, and a patient rating scale, along with unique monitoring process, allow the physician to find the source of the pain and the exact location of the discomfort.

With the discography procedure, the rate of success increases to around 78 percent, although typically 99 percent of patients will experience relief from the lumbar surgery that follows. During the treatment, an injection is made into each separate area of the disc. The patient is then asked to explain the level of pain present in that area, and if there is damage, the injection will create a visible glow on the damaged portion, which the surgeon can visualize.

“By choosing a discography over alternative methods, the use of unnecessary surgery is reduced, and the patient’s level of success from their lumbar surgery is increased by over 75%.”

While surgery was once used as a method of correction that only allowed the patient to experience hope, discography has allowed patients to experience complete relief by attacking the direct cause of the problem during the surgical procedure. Also, the entire treatment typically takes only 45 minutes to one hour to complete. The patient will be given prior treatment instructions, then prepped with an I.V. containing antibiotics.

After this, the patient is placed on his or her side or abdomen, with the use of a prop to keep them properly positioned. The injection site will then be cleaned, and an initial injection of a numbing agent may be used to help reduce the level of discomfort experienced by the patient. The injections are then made, and a small recorder is used to ensure accurate incision. Each area is checked individually, then as a whole, which allows from proper diagnosis.

DiscographyAfter the injections are made, and the area is inspected for damage, the surgeon will then know if the patient will require surgery for the disc. If the disc is not causing the pain, as the discography will be able to determine, the physician will be able to offer the patient additional testing and treatment methods to find the right cause of discomfort and alleviate it. If the surgery is needed for the disc, the patient can be scheduled right away. With the discography’s ability to determine the source of pain, the patient will generally experience a greatly reduced level of discomfort once he or she has the surgery.

Conditions Treated with Discography

A discography is used for assessment of pain that is present in the area of the back. The most common use of a discography is for damage related to the discs. There are different types of damage that can occur within the discs and can be successfully treated with a discography, which include:

  • Extruded Disc: A condition that occurs within the discs of the spine. This condition occurs when the spine degenerates, and the fluid inside in able to leak into the spinal column.
  • Fissured Disc: Also known as a herniated disc. Occurs when damage occurs due to a crack or tear in the disc.
  • Disc Nerve Condition: A condition that causes the nerves within the disc to become damaged or put under pressure due to degeneration or injury.



Additional Resources:
knowyourback.org/Treatments/Discography
spine-health.com/lumbar-discography-back-pain-diagnosis