A lumbar discogram is an injection technique which is used to help evaluate patients who suffer from back pain and have previously been unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment methods. One of the most common uses of this particular procedure is for surgical planning prior to something such as a lumbar fusion.
This diagnostic procedure is somewhat controversial. Some people believe that the information which is gleaned from this procedure cannot be obtained in any other fashion while others believe that it is not useful in evaluating patients.
Who qualifies for this procedure?
People who have debilitating back pain, hip pain, leg pain, or groin pain and have utilized all other treatment methods might consider this treatment. Those two have undergone spinal diagnostic procedures which have failed to locate the primary cause of pain might benefit from this particular procedure especially if they are contemplating spinal surgery.
What takes place during this procedure?
This procedure is much less about the anatomy of your disk and more about the physiology. The purpose is not to discover what your disk looks like but whether your disk is painful. Abnormal looking discs may not be painful whereas a disk which is minimally disrupted in its appearance might be associated with severe pain. It is for this reason that performing the procedure is one of the most useful ways to diagnose which disk is causing pain.
Other tests are very sensitive but not specific in defining what causes your pain. The lumbar discogram is unique in that it is designed to induce pain in your sensitive discs. The spinal fusion procedure performed by pain management doctors in Dallas is one which is intended to get rid of any painful disks but this procedure is necessary prior to that so as to determine which disks are in fact causing the pain. A doctor at a Dallas pain clinic needs to be 100% sure that the levels they are fusing in the surgical procedure are the ones responsible for pain. In order to be 100% sure the discogram is used.
What happens during the initial interview?
Before you have this procedure you must complete an initial interview. During this procedure your doctors will ask you questions about your current level of health and will answer any questions you have. This is the perfect time to ask them any questions you might have or have them address any horror stories that you have heard from friends and family. During this time the discographer will speak with you about the relevant anatomy and we’ll discuss what takes place in this procedure in greater detail. This will be your second opportunity to ask any additional questions you may have and decide whether you want to proceed with this process.
What takes place prior to the procedure itself?
Once you have completed your history and your initial physical exam and interview at the Pain clinics near Dallas, TX it is time to prepare for the procedure. In order to prepare you will be given an intravenous line. In many cases sedation is avoided because sedation could interfere with your reactions or sensations. After this you will be placed on a unique table with an x-ray unit position over you. Your back will be marked with an ink pen over the disc areas that will be examined. After this your back will be cleansed with antiseptic. The x-ray will be sterilized and the discographer will be wearing sterile surgical gowns as well.