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The discogram is similar to the myelogram, in that special dye is injected and X-rays are taken. It is also often accompanied by a CT scan. However, the dye is injected into the spine’s discs rather than the spinal column. While discs don’t show up on ordinary X-rays, the X-rays of the dye can show if a disc has ruptured (a herniated disc) since any leakage of dye will be revealed. Also, any sensation of pain from the injection may indicate that a particular disc is the source of the pain. Discography helps determine which discs are the sources of pain.

During the test, you will have an IV to sedate you if necessary and protect against any allergic reaction. While you’re lying face down on the table, needles are injected into the selected discs, dye is injected and X-ray pictures are taken. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and may be uncomfortable. You may be then sent for a CT scan to give your physician even more information.

Don’t eat after midnight the day of your exam, and ask your physician if you should take your regular medications. The dye will be removed from the body through the flow of urine a few hours after the procedure. You will not be able to drive home because of the sedatives. You will need to rest at least overnight after the procedure.

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