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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

What Is a Discogram?Discograf­a

What Is a Discogram?

A discogram is a test in which contrast fluid is injected into a disc in your spine. The test helps pinpoint which disc is causing your back or leg pain. It is often done when certain treatments for your pain are being considered. As part of the test, an image of the disc is taken. This image shows where and how the disc is damaged.

Image
A discogram image.

Risks and Complications of a Discogram

A discogram can have risks. Your doctor can discuss them with you. Possible risks include:

  • Bleeding

  • Spinal fluid leak

  • Infection

  • Nerve damage

Let the Health Care Provider Know

For your safety and the success of your test, tell the health care provider if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be.

  • Have any bleeding problems.

  • Take blood thinners (anticoagulants) or other medications, including aspirin, herbs, or supplements.

  • Have any allergies.

You will also be asked questions about your overall health.

Preparing for Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Allow plenty of time before your appointment to check in. You will need to sign a form stating that the test has been explained to you. If you have questions, ask them before you sign the form. Your visit will last 2-4 hours. Be sure that you:

  • Stop taking medications, herbs, and supplements before the test as advised by your doctor.

  • Tell your doctor if you have any allergies.

  • Don't eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the test.

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the test.

Publication Source: Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Interventional Spine Center

Online Source: Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Interventional Spine Center

Date Last Reviewed: 2004-08-02T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2002-07-09T00:00:00-06:00

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