A discography or MRI which is better?

Anatomy of the human disc

The human vertebral disc is a complex structure in the spine that holds weight and facilitate motion. The disc is comprised of a central part called the nucleus that is surrounded by layers of  tissues. The disc helps the spine move flexibly and assist the spine support the body. In a normal disc, the outer layer is only covered with the nerves. The outer layer of the disc may get damaged by over burdening the spine or lifting heavy objects in a risky position. The damages can give rise to a series of conditions that can cause severe pain. As the disc attempts to naturally heal itself new nerves and tissue may form and excessive scarring may  give rise to more pain and pressure on the nerves. In some cases the nucleus may leak out leading to spinal disc herniation or degenerative disc conditions

Discography and its benefits

Though MRI is a potential tool for indicating the abnormalities in the disc, still it does not indicate the accurate abnormality that causes you pain.  Discography is a unique  method that can help your medical practitioner diagnose whether the abnormal disc is causing you pain.  Since discography is  a slightly invasive  procedure and involves administering needles straight to the disc, it is not recommended for early diagnosis or an early treatment plan. Usually the patients who opt discography are the one who fail to get relief from the conventional measures  such as medication, physical therapy and changing  their lifestyle. They endure chronic back pain

Discography is a solution for the patients whose real cause  of pain is not diagnosed and soon after the diagnosis a new treatment plan can be devised according to the patients need

How discography is carried out?

At the Pain management Institute Dr. Zaki Anwar, MD carries out the discography injections by  giving you light sedation to ensure that you don’t feel any discomfort during the whole procedure. However the procedure  discussed is for the general understanding of the patients the actual procedure may slightly vary depending  on your condition and the preference of Dr. Zaki Anwar MD. The procedure is usually performed under the X-ray guidance. Dr. Zaki will l ask you to lay on one side and slightly bend forward.  Pillows can be used for support. The skin will be cleaned with a sterile solution commonly, the lowest two or three disc levels are injected with an anesthetic solution in the skin to alleviate the discomfort arising from inserting the needles piercing the tissues. X-ray guidance  will help the physician to direct the needle to the aimed disc. The second needle is passed through the first needle for deeper penetration into the disc. A contrast dye is injected, in the center, if the dye remains in the center the disc is normal, if the dye spreads it indicates the disc is damaged

The injection takes 30 to 60 minutes, after which you will be kept in observation for 30 minutes. It is recommended that you should not drive back home. The pain may persist for a few hour after the procedure.