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Lumbar discography is a diagnostic procedure used to evaluate whether a particular spinal disc is causing chronic low back pain. It involves injecting a contrast dye into one or more of the discs in the lumbar spine (lower back) and then pressurizing the disc(s) to simulate the normal stresses of everyday activities, such as standing, sitting or lifting.

What is the preparation for a Lumbar Discography?

During the procedure, the patient is given medicine to help them relax and then lies face down on a table. A local anesthetic is then used to numb the skin and tissues around the injection site. 

How are the needles placed in a Lumbar Discography?

A small needle is then inserted into the center of the disc(s) under X-ray guidance, and a contrast dye is injected. This allows the physician to see the structure of the disc(s) on a fluoroscope (a type of X-ray machine) and determine if there are any tears or leaks in the outer layer of the disc(s).

How are the discs tested in a Lumbar Discography?

After the dye is injected, the physician will pressurize the disc(s) by injecting a small amount of sterile saline solution. The patient is asked to report any pain or discomfort during this process, as this may indicate that the disc is causing the pain. If a particular disc is found to be the source of the pain, it may be treated with other procedures such as nerve block or surgical intervention.

What to expect after a Lumbar Discography:

After a lumbar discography, it is important to take care to minimize any discomfort and reduce the risk of complications. 

Rest and avoid strenuous activities

You may need to rest for 1-2 days after the procedure and avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or exercise, for several days.

Apply ice

You may experience some discomfort or swelling at the injection site. Applying ice to the area for 20-30 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Take pain medication

You may be prescribed pain medication to help manage any discomfort you may experience after the procedure. 

Drink plenty of fluids

Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the contrast dye from your body.

The animation content provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any specific questions you may have regarding a medical condition or procedure.