Discography is an injection into a disc or discs of a dye to investigate the spine for a pain source. It is a provocative test and is therefore generally used when the decision has been made to consider a spinal fusion. Discography is used to attempt to locate a pain source which may be suspected from an MRI scan. MRI scans cannot determine which discs are painful as it merely shows which are showing signs of wear and tear. Wear and tear changes are not always painful but merely a sign of the aging process. Discography is performed by a neuro-radiologist or occasionally by a surgeon. Generally it is better performed under CT scan control.
It is usually a day case procedure under light sedation.
The risks are those of infection, CSF leak or nerve injury.