What is discography?
Discography is the injection of local anesthetic and dye injected into the disk. Discography is used to determine which disk level(s) is painful, and is usually used as a diagnostic tool for your surgeon. A minimum of two disks will be injected. If you have x-ray findings of disk problems at many levels you may need more disks injected.
What are the risks of the procedure?
The main risk of the procedure, though it happens less than 1% of the time, is diskitis. Diskitis is an infection in the disk that can lead to an infection in the spine. Every effort is made to prevent this from happening - antibiotics before the procedure, sterile technique, etc. There is also a chance of what is called a paresthesia - a shooting, “electric-shock” type pain. This generally occurs when the medicine is injected into the disk and more pressure is put on the nerve. This usually passes quickly but on rare occasion it continues. As with most procedures there is a remote risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury, or allergic reaction to the medications used. Some short-term side effects may occur. If local anesthetic spreads to nearby nerves you may have weakness or numbness that can last for several hours. If this happens you may have to stay in the Pain Management Center until this resolves. You may have increased pain for a few days after the injection, including localized pain at the injection site.