Cervical Discogram

Why did your doctor perform this procedure?

This procedure is performed to help find the cause of your neck, head and shoulder pain. The discs in the cervical spine or neck form cushions between the vertebrae of the cervical spine. These discs can often become degenerated or “worn out”. This can lead to symptoms such as neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain. Your doctor believes these discs are the source of your pain and now this procedure will help determine the disc or discs that are causing your symptoms.

How is the procedure performed?

You will have an intravenous line (IV) inserted before the procedure. You will receive a sedative through your IV to help you relax thru the procedure. A small needle will be inserted in your neck near the spine. The needle will always be inserted under X-ray as this helps your doctor guide the needle to the exact location. When the needle is in the correct position, a small amount of dye will be injected into the disc. You may or may not have pain with this injection. After the medication is injected into the disc, you will be asked a variety of questions concerning your pain and its severity. After the procedure, you will be watched closely by our nurses in the recovery room.

What can you expect after the procedure?

Please remember, this procedure is a test to help determine if painful disc disease is the cause of your pain. You will not have any reduction in your pain after this procedure. Patients may notice a “flare” of their pain that can last for up to one week after the procedure. You will have a CT scan after the procedure to help further look at the discs and their degeneration. You will need someone to drive you home as your ability to drive will be impaired. Very rarely, infections can occur in the discs after a discogram. Please call if you begin to have a fever, chill or neck pain that is worsening.

What if you have worrisome side effects or other concerns?

You may experience a small amount of bruising, bleeding or swelling at the injection site. It is best to apply ice compresses in the first 24 hours followed by heat after 24 hours in short durations, usually 20 minutes at a time. Please continue your regular medications. If you are experiencing other difficulties or side effects, please call our office at 742-7030 so that we may recommend further action.