A discography is a brief outpatient diagnostic procedure that is performed in order to identify painful discs in the spine and which treatment is appropriate.
Most patients who require a discographhy have failed to improve with conservative treatments, including medications, physical therapy, and injection therapy.
During discography, a contrast dye is injected into the disc. An X-Ray is then taken to view the disc anatomy and to see if the dye leaks out of the disc. In addition, the pressure within each disc is measured during and after dye injection and the patient’s response to the injection is noted; provocation of pain that is similar to the patient’s existing back or neck pain suggests that the disk might be the source of the pain. Computed tomography (CT) is usually performed after discography to assess anatomical changes in the disk and to demonstrate tears or disruption in the outer layer.