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Provocational Discography

Provocational Discography

Discography is a diagnostic technique favoured by spinal surgeons in their assessment of axial low back pain without dominant sciatica. After a consultation and full examination with a spinal specialist, patients are referred to a Consultant Neuroradiologist with special interest in the spine for the procedure. 

The procedure involves lying on the left side on an x-ray table and while under heavy sedation needles are placed in the troublesome discs which are pressurised by an injection of radiological dye. Normal discs are not painful and it is the neuroradiologist’s job to try and identify which discs are pain generators by assessing the symptomatic response to injection and by evaluating the images obtained during the procedure. Most patients will have a limited CT scan through the discs before returning to the ward. The results are fed back to the referring doctor who may decide on conservative management or surgery.