Discography

A discogram, or discography, is an interventional diagnostic imaging test that helps determine whether a specific intervertebral disc may be the source of back pain. Intervertebral discs are sponge-like cushions between the vertebrae, or bones, of the spine. Discs act as a sort of shock absorber for the spine and help provide flexibility. Each disc has a strong outer layer called an annulus and a center part, called a nucleus, made of a soft, rubber-like material. When discs bulge or rupture, they may press on the nerves of the spinal column and cause pain or weakness.In a discogram, a contrast liquid is injected into the center of one or more spinal discs using x-ray guidance. This injection may temporarily reproduce the patient’s back pain symptoms. As part of the procedure, an x-ray or CT scan also may be performed to obtain pictures of the injected disc.

A discogram is typically performed to help diagnose the cause of back pain and to guide the treatment of abnormal discs. The procedure also may be performed prior to surgery to help identify discs that need to be treated or removed