Center for Pain Management

Lumbosacral Discography

A doctor may request a lumbosacral discography for patients experiencing back and/or leg pain. Discography can be used to determine the source of pain symptoms and verify the painful disk level when other diagnostic tests show multiple abnormal disks. Typically, discography is only performed after more conservative (non-operational) treatments have failed and non-invasive tests like MRI have not provided sufficient diagnostic information.

What to Expect

The procedure takes about 60 minutes. The radiologist will use fluoroscopy to pass one needle at a time into each of the appropriate disks. After all needles are properly positioned, contrast material is injected into each disk, one at a time. Your pain response for each injection is recorded. The purpose of discography is to see if the injections provoke the exact same pain patients usually experience. After the procedure, a CT scan will be performed to detect any disk abnormalities that become outlined by the contrast material.

Following discography, patients may experience worsening of pain symptoms for several hours, during which activity should be limited. Continue bed rest or light duties as tolerated for 24 hours. DO NOT do any strenuous exercise, housework or heavy lifting for at least 24 hours. You may leave the hospital immediately if you have someone to assist you home.


Schedule a Lumbosacral Discography procedure.

Click here to download questionnaire with additional information