Back pain investigations can identify which of the discs between the vertebrae (bones) in your back is causing you pain.
Discography can identify which of the discs between the vertebrae (bones) in your back is causing you pain and it is often used before back surgery. The discs are small soft pads that act as shock absorbers for the bones.
Your doctor will recommend this if other tests including CT and MRI scans have not pinned down the exact discs that need to be treated. The test takes around 45 minutes, and you will be sedated and have a local anaesthetic.
This means you’ll be awake but won’t feel anything while a fine needle is inserted into the area of your back that is causing problems and X-ray images are taken.
You’ll need a referral letter from a consultant or GP before booking any diagnostic investigation. You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time, you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
You’ll be given sedation which will make you feel calm, and a local anaesthetic to numb the skin on your back. Your doctor will then insert a fine needle into the affected area. They may also insert more needles if they have to look at more than one disc.
You might feel uncomfortable as the needles will be going into an area that is already causing pain but tell the doctor immediately if you feel pain in your leg during the test.
A second needle will be inserted through the first one to inject contrast or X-ray dye into the centre of the disc. X-rays will then be taken for your doctor to analyse later, the needles will then be withdrawn, and the test is over. The test takes approximately 45 minutes.
After your procedure you’ll be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home. You might have bruising, swelling and pain at the injection site(s). We’ll give you painkillers to help with this.
Please contact the hospital or your GP immediately if you feel unwell develop back pain that does not settle or gets worse or if you develop a fever or a high temperature. Your surgeon will review the results and discuss them with you and the possible implications for treatment or further tests at your next follow-up appointment.
If you are not under the care of a Sussex Premier Health Consultant for your back pain, we’ll forward them quickly to your GP or NHS consultant.
Back pain and related symptoms can interfere with our lives. As well as being one of the main reasons people take time off work.
Back pain can prevent you taking part in exercise or sport, playing with your children and family, driving, and using computers for work or leisure. Our highly trained and caring clinicians understand that ongoing (or chronic) pain can gnaw away at us affecting your enjoyment of life.
Discography can identify which of the discs between the vertebrae (bones) in your back is causing you pain and it is often used before back surgery. The discs are small sot pads that act as shock absorbers for the bones.
Your doctor will recommend this if other tests including CT and MRI scans have not pinned down the exact discs that need to be treated.
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