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IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

The procedure known as a ‘discogram' will hopefully help diagnose the source of the back pain you have been experiencing. The technique used will examine the structure of the discs and vertebrae to discover if there is a problem that may be causing you pain.

Before your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

You will be cared for as a day patient. The procedure will be carried out in either theatre or in the Neurosciences X-Ray department and your hospital stay should be no longer than six hours.  You can bring someone with you but unfortunately space is limited so we suggest that you bring only one person.

Please eat a light meal on the day, but have nothing to eat for four hours before the procedure.  If you are diabetic, continue with your usual eating habits.

Please take any medication as usual although if you are taking any blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, Coumarin, Dipyridamole or Clopidogrel please inform the medical staff.

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

During the procedure you will be asked to wear a gown and pyjama bottoms which will be provided. The procedure will be performed by either a radiologist or a neurosurgeon. You may experience some minimal pain during the procedure however this should resolve over the next 24 hours.

You will have a drip in the vein in your arm. This allows us to give you pre-medication to help you relax, pain relief and antibiotics.

  • Local anaesthetic is injected into the area of your back to be examined - a needle is used to inject dye into the disc. There are no side effects to the dye
  • A scan of the affected disc will reveal any changes in the disc such as scarring, tears or bulges.
  • Please tell the doctor what you are feeling as accurately as you can while the procedure is underway.
  • This procedure should be last about 30 to 40 minutes.

After your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

You will be offered pain relief and advised to rest for an hour after the procedure. You will have your blood pressure, pulse and wound site checked by nursing staff.

  • You may eat and drink as usual. After you have passed urine, you may go home.
  • Please arrange for transport, as it is unwise to drive on the day of the procedure.
  • You will be able to resume your normal activities within the next 1-2 days.

How do I get the results?

You will normally receive the results of the procedure in your follow up outpatient appointment, although occasionally the neurosurgeon will advise you during the procedure.

What are the treatments that may be an option after this procedure?

Any further treatment options following this procedure will be discussed with you at your follow up outpatient appointment.
Please note that this procedure is carried out to help us to discover the source of your pain. It will not cure the pain, but will allow us to plan for future treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact the Neurosciences Senior Nurse 0191 233 6161 (switchboard) bleep 1714 at any time, or during work hours contact your consultant’s secretary.

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