Discography is a radiology test used to diagnose the source and location of pain associated with internal disc syndrome. It is commonly used to diagnose other disc related pain such as degenerative disc disease and discogenic pain. The pain is predominantly located in the neck and back.
The procedure is done by injecting a contrast (dye) into the affected disc and monitor patient’s response to pain. An accurate diagnosis of the location and source of the pain is confirmed if pain similar to that which has been experienced by the patient occurs. A CT scan is normally done afterwards to assess any changes in the anatomical structure of the disc. The CT scan also confirms internal disc disruption by revealing the leakage of contrast into the tear of the disrupted disc.
There are several complications associated with a discography. These include nausea, seizures, headache and increased pain in the affected discs. In addition, there are some rare complications associated with the procedure such as spinal headache and meningitis. There might even be discitis (disc infection), arachnoiditis (scarring) and serious bleeding. Some patients can experience an allergic reaction to the contrast.