Discography - Benefits and Risks
- No radiation remains in a patient's body after a discogram procedure.
- Discography images the structural integrity of the disc(s)
- Discography can aid in treatment planning
- Discography is minimally invasive and is an outpatient procedure requiring no hospitalization
- X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.
- Additional CT is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
- Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
- There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
- Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- The effective radiation dose for this discogram procedure varies.
- CT is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
- Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after contrast material injection before resuming breast-feeding.
- The risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine is extremely rare, and radiology departments are well-equipped to deal with them.
- A discogram is generally a safe procedure. However, there is a risk of the following complications:
- infection of the space between discs
- worsening of chronic back pain
- injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine
- temporary numbness or weakness
- nerve damage