A discogram is a test that is done for evaluating whether a patient needs a disk surgery or not. It is an advanced test whose basic aim is to locate the spinal disc that is causing the pain to the patient and the amount of structural damage suffered by that disc.
Which Patients Undergo this Test?
The discogram test is not advised to all the patients suffering from back pain. It is performed only on those patients in whom the cause of their pain is invisible. For such patients, the use of CT scans and MRI is done at first to start the identification of the root cause of the pain.
A discogram is purely a diagnostic test. It can help with identifying a disc as the source of a patient’s pain, but it does not help therapeutically. It’s not a pain relieving procedure.
How is the Test performed?
The test is conducted using a fluoroscope, a large needle and dye. The Las Vegas pain management doctor usually gives a medication first to relax the nerves of the patient before starting the test. The area of the back is numbed using a local anesthetic so that the patient feels minimal if any pain in those soft tissues.
The Pain Management Doctor in Las Vegas then injects the dye in the discs of the patient’s spine under evaluation. This dye is inserted to help the doctor in clearly seeing the inside portion of the spinal disc. The fluoroscope helps the doctor in placing the needle accurately and making sure that it does not go elsewhere.
Once the affected spinal disc has been identified the doctor injects a little fluid into the disc to increase the pressure inside it. This is done to determine the amount of pain it causes the patient and also to determine the extent of the damage sustained by the outer hard shell of the disc. The pain doctor will then ask the patient if he or she feels pain. A positive test is when the pain felt is similar to what occurs on a daily basis.
Along with the levels tested that are under consideration, the Las Vegas pain management clinic doctor will also test a “control” level that looks normal to make sure substantial pain is not created.
What Happens After the Test?
If the doctors find that the pain suffered by the patient is indeed a result of the damage sustained by the disc then the patient is potentially going to be scheduled for a disc surgery. It is important to evaluate the subjective results of the levels tested along with the images obtained when the dye was injected.
If the dye extravasates outside the disc under concern, that means degenerative changes are present.
Risks Involved in the Test?
A discogram is not a treatment method so it cannot reduce the pain suffered by the patient. However, it is a very good diagnostic measure for finding the cause of the pain which can then be treated with surgery.
It is important for the test to be performed by an expert Las Vegas pain management doctor such as the Board Certified ones at Innovative Pain Care. Over 50 insurance plans are accepted at the Henderson and Las Vegas pain clinics, and there are multiple convenient locations.
Call (702) 323-0553 for more information and scheduling today!