A discogram, or diskogram, is a test used to evaluate back pain. A discogram may help your doctor determine if an abnormal disk in your spine is causing your back pain.
Spinal disks look a little like jelly doughnuts, with a tough outer layer and a gel-like substance inside. Disks act as cushions between the bones in your spine.
During a discogram, dye is injected into the soft center of the disk. The injection itself sometimes reproduces your back pain. Several disks may be injected to try to pinpoint the cause of your back pain.
The dye also moves into any cracks in the disk's exterior, which can then be seen on an X-ray or CT scan. However, disks that show signs of wear and tear don't always cause symptoms, so the usefulness of a discogram is controversial.
Jan. 09, 2015
- Pope TL, ed. Musculoskeletal Imaging (Expert Radiology). 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Benzon HT, ed. Practical Management of Pain. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. About your lumbar discography test. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Staiger TO, et al. Diagnostic testing for low back pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Eck JC, et al. Guideline update for the performance of fusio procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine. Part 6: Discography for patient selection. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. 2014;21:37.
- Waldman SD, ed. Atlas of Interventional Pain Management. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Dec. 7, 2014.