Discography is a medical procedure that involves injecting a dye into
the jellylike center of a spinal disc to help diagnose back problems.
discography, a doctor looks at the amount of pressure needed to
inject the dye into the disc, whether it causes pain that is the same as your regular pain, how much dye is used, and how the dye
appears on X-ray after it is inside the disc.
Most people have changes to their spinal discs as they age, but these
changes usually do not cause any symptoms.
Discography has been largely replaced by simpler and more effective methods for basic testing. It is sometimes still used in hard-to-diagnose cases or before surgery. Discography may increase the risk of having disc problems.1 Most experts no longer recommend it.2 If your doctor recommends discography, experts recommend getting a second opinion before having this test.
Carragee EJ, et al. (2009). Does discography cause accelerated progression of degeneration changes in the lumbar disc: A ten-year matched cohort study. Spine, 34(21): 2338–2345.
Chou R, et al. (2009). Interventional therapies, surgery and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain: An evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society. Spine, 34(10): 1066–1077.
February 15, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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