What is a Lumbar Discogram?
A Lumbar Discogram, also known as a Discography, is a diagnostic procedure used to evaluate and identify the source of chronic lower back pain. As a pain management specialist, I, Dr. Edward Rubin, utilize this procedure to help patients find relief from debilitating back pain that has not responded to conservative treatments. The Lumbar Discogram involves injecting a contrast dye into the intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine to determine if they are the cause of the pain.
What can Lumbar Discograms treat?
The primary goal of a Lumbar Discogram is to pinpoint the specific disc or discs that are causing a patient’s chronic back pain. Once the problem discs are identified, it allows for more targeted treatment options. Discograms are especially beneficial for individuals who have not experienced relief with traditional treatments such as physical therapy, medications, or epidural steroid injections. The information gathered from this procedure can guide the next steps in the patient’s pain management plan, potentially leading to more effective and lasting pain relief.
How is a Lumbar Discogram administered?
The Lumbar Discogram procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure at our state-of-the-art pain management center. Before the procedure, patients will be asked to change into a hospital gown, and an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted to administer medications and fluids during the process.
Preparation: The patient will lie on their stomach on an X-ray table, and the skin over the lumbar area will be cleaned and sterilized.
Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the skin and tissues to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
Contrast Injection: Under fluoroscopy guidance (real-time X-ray imaging), a thin needle will be inserted into the center of each targeted disc. A contrast dye is then injected into the disc, which allows visualization of the disc’s internal structure during the subsequent imaging.
Imaging: X-ray or CT scans will be taken to examine the injected contrast dye’s distribution within the discs. These images will reveal any abnormalities, such as tears, fissures, or herniations, that could be causing the patient’s back pain.
Post-Procedure Care: After the procedure, patients are monitored for a short period and provided with appropriate aftercare instructions before being discharged.
What are the risks of a Lumbar Discogram?
While Lumbar Discograms are generally safe, like any medical procedure, there are some risks involved. Potential risks and complications include:
Infection: There is a slight risk of infection at the injection site.
Allergic Reaction: Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the procedure, although it is rare.
Disc Injury: There is a small chance that the injection could cause damage to the disc or worsen the existing condition. However, this risk is minimized by using imaging guidance.
Discomfort: Patients may experience temporary discomfort or soreness at the injection sites following the procedure.
Call to Action – Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Edward Rubin
If you are suffering from chronic lower back pain that has not responded to conventional treatments, a Lumbar Discogram may be the key to finding effective pain relief. Don’t let back pain hold you back any longer. Take the first step towards a pain-free life by scheduling an appointment at our Pain Management Center. Contact us today!