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Provocative discogram injection info

A provocative discogram, also known as a discography, is a diagnostic test performed to identify painful discs in the spine that may be contributing to your back or neck pain. This procedure is particularly helpful when conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief, and there is a need to pinpoint the source of pain accurately.

What to expect: During the provocative discogram, you will be positioned on an examination table. Our experienced physician will use fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray) guidance to place a thin needle into the intervertebral discs of your spine. This may involve injecting a contrast dye into each disc, one at a time, to visualize the internal structure of the disc on X-ray. While this process is being carried out, you may be asked to describe your pain sensation to help identify the specific disc causing your pain.

Determining Painful Discs: The goal of the provocative discogram is to reproduce your typical pain symptoms, as this helps identify which discs are causing your discomfort. By reproducing your pain during the test, our spinal surgeon can pinpoint the specific disc or discs responsible for your pain. Once we have identified the painful discs, we can tailor your treatment plan accordingly, focusing on targeted therapies to alleviate your pain more effectively.

Facilitating Efficacy and Safety of Future Surgery: Knowing which disc or discs are painful through the provocative discogram is crucial, especially if you are considering surgical intervention. Understanding the source of your pain helps our spinal surgeon to plan the most appropriate surgical approach and to target the specific discs during the procedure. This knowledge facilitates a more precise and effective surgical treatment, leading to better pain relief outcomes.

Additionally, the provocative discogram can aid in determining which discs are not causing pain. This information is equally valuable, as it helps avoid unnecessary surgery on non-painful discs, reducing the risk of complications and ensuring a safer surgical experience.

Risks and Complications: Like any medical procedure, provocative discograms carry some risks, including:

  1. Infection: Although rare, there is a slight risk of infection at the needle insertion site.

  2. Bleeding: Some localized bruising or bleeding may occur at the injection site.

  3. Nerve Damage: While uncommon, there is a minimal risk of nerve injury during the needle placement.

  4. Allergic Reaction: In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the procedure.

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