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
"After being in pain for 3 years, my neck surgery changed my life!"- K.B. / Google / Apr 30, 2023
"Dr carrell read my chart even after not seeeing him for over one year and I appreciate that more than anything. Thank you!"- C.T. / Google / Apr 17, 2023
"Dr Carll treated a broken L4&5 on our teenage son years ago - and is helping me with a degenerative disc. The office is nice, the PA is wonderful, Miss Mary even called back to let me know the prescriptions were called in. Dr Carll was kind, helpful and professional. I couldn’t be more grateful as we work to reduce this pain. I highly recommend Dr. Carll."- A.B. / Google / Mar 27, 2023
"Had an excellent diagnosis, back surgery, and recovery. Dr. Carll must have done an excellent job because I was back on my racing bike for a (short) ride only 7 weeks after surgery - and after 3 months I was back up to 60 miles. 100% recommended."- W.S. / Google / Mar 17, 2023
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.