What is Discography?
Discography, which may also be called a discogram or disc stimulation, is an invasive, outpatient procedure (purely diagnostic in nature) that helps board-certified spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll to ascertain the specific disc in your spine that is responsible for your back pain. The procedure utilizes contrast dye injected into the affected disc to help diagnose injury. Discography itself will not help heal your back or address your back pain. Instead it will help Dr. Carll to create a treatment plan to hopefully address your condition. Led by Dr. Carll, Spine Care of North Texas has a skilled staff and 15 years of experience treating back conditions with proven surgical and nonsurgical techniques. Our team is dedicated to resolving your symptoms by providing a comprehensive diagnosis and focusing on minimally invasive treatments (whenever possible) to help restore your quality of life.
"I recently experienced a pinched nerve that severely affected my ability to use my right hand. I contacted Dr. Carll who immediately went to work on my behalf. Knowing that this was a time sensitive situation Dr. Carll went out of his way to ensure that I received the appropriate MRIs, CAT scans, and nerve studies to properly diagnose my situation. After reviewing all the test Dr. Carll exhibited true professionalism and integrity by referring me out to Dr. Patty Young (I am so thankful for your referral) who specialized in the surgery that I would need. Dr. Carll could’ve chosen to operate because I had several degenerative disc, however he chose ethics over profit. Dr. Carll is a true professional that will put your health over profit! When it comes to your health there’s nothing more important than having a doctor that you can trust to be professional and ethical. Thank you Dr. Carll for providing me with both!"- K.H. / Google / Aug 29, 2018
"Dr. Carll is THE BEST!!! I had to have an A-lift spinal fusion and never before have I seen such a caring doctor and staff. They held my hand through my fears were actually there for me and more throughout the process. I don't believe there is a more caring, more compassionate doctor than Dr. Carll. Thanks to him and his amazing abilities I can feel my right leg again and now live without pain. I will forever be grateful to this office and Dr. Carll for being there for me as a person and as a patient.-Nicole Baucum"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 17, 2019
"Excellent care - Very compassionate doctor! Truly cares about your pain and issues."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 12, 2019
"Excellent Care!! - I had put off my 360 Spinal Fusion for over a decade, relying on epidurals to deal with the pain. After doing two years of thorough research, I chose Dr. Kendall Carll at the Spine Care of North Texas. Being that I’m in the medical industry, I did ask around, too.From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels.The staff did a great job setting up my home health care; which included a nurse and a physical therapist. They, too, did an outstanding job. A large part of my job involves air travel. I felt so “good” I reached out to see if I was ok to travel. I followed all restrictions, primarily lifting, and was able to take a two-hour flight. This is amazing considering it was only 23 days post-surgery.If you’re like me and will use insurance, be sure to do the match; to make sure your rehab will be completed by the end of the year.“I am 100% satisfied with my experience with Spine Care of North Texas. Every single person on staff was terrific, and the system worked flawlessly. I now refer all my friends and family to them."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 04, 2019
"From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels. They are the best!!!"- E.E. / Healthgrades / Feb 04, 2019
Although an MRI or CT scan may suggest which disc is generating your back pain, they sometimes leave room for doubt. Dr. Carll will always seek a comprehensive diagnosis before recommending invasive treatment options, such as surgery. Patients who will most benefit from discography are those who have failed to improve after conservative, minimally invasive treatments such as medication, physical therapy, and injection therapy. In addition, some patients have more than one abnormal appearing disc on a scan, and Dr. Carll may want to determine if the pain is coming from one or both discs before planning surgery. Spine Care of North Texas is focused on treating each cause of your back pain and will recommend discography anytime MRI or CT scans do not provide thorough results.
Are They Safe?
As is the case in most diagnostic tests, Dr. Carll only recommends discography when the benefits outweigh the risks. Discography is generally a safe procedure, but there is a slight risk of the following side effects:
- Temporary increase in back pain
- Nerve damage
- Temporary numbness and weakness
What to Expect
The discography diagnostic test is completed as an outpatient procedure using a local anesthetic. As the anesthesia is injected, you may feel a slight pinprick following the insertion of the needle. Patients report feeling pressure as a catheter is inserted into your vein or artery, while the needle is guided toward to suspected disc. Throughout the procedure, you will be asked to remain perfectly still. As the contrast material begins to pass through your veins and arteries, you will likely feel a warming sensation.
Following the discography, you may be tender and swollen near the injection site. Ice applied to this area should help to alleviate the discomfort during healing. Dr. Carll may also prescribe a pain medication to be taken for both your back pain and to help with the discomfort from the procedure.
Dealing with a chronic back pain can be daunting and debilitating. Our team at Spine Care of North Texas understands and empathizes with you during this difficult time. We are committed to providing you with the comprehensive diagnosis you deserve to help you head toward recovery and pain relief. If you are interested in learning more about discography or you are simply ready to seek answers, we invite you to contact our helpful staff today. With four convenient locations, we can make your appointment fit into your busy schedule. Give us a call today to set up your consultation.