Discogram Procedure


WHY a Discogram?

Your doctor has prescribed this test to determine if surgery is needed and which levels are producing your pain. There are a variety of treatments available. This test will help your surgeon determine which procedure is the right one for you.

Make arrangements to have a responsible adult accompany you to your appointment, drive you home, and remain with you for 24 hours.

The procedure will be canceled if you do not have a driver. This is for your safety and the safety of others.

Patient Information

What to Expect:

The test is done by Dr Lutz in the surgery suite using fluoroscopy (a visual X-ray process).

  • 1-2 days before your scheduled test a special procedures nurse will call you for your medical history and explain what will be happening. If you miss the call, please call the surgery center the day before your procedure.
  • Do not take pain medications, eat, or drink anything 6 hours before your discogram.
  • If you are on blood thinners please contact the clinic where your procedure is scheduled at and notify them that you are taking anticoagulants. To have the discogram you will need to check with you primary doctor for approval to be off your medication at least 3-7 days prior to the procedure. Patients on Coumadin require a protime/INR blood test the day before the procedure with an acceptable value of 1.5 or below. Bring these results with you to your appointment.
  • You should take your blood pressure, cardiac and antiseizure medications with a small sip of water.
  • After being admitted to special procedures you will be asked to sign a permit and any remaining questions will be answered.
  • You will then be asked to wear a patient gown, cap and booties. This is a special procedure and sterile technique will be observed.
  • An IV will be started and a pre procedure antibiotic will be administered. This will also be used as an access to give medication and for your safety.
  • A 5-minute sterile scrub will be done pre procedure to the area we will be testing.
  • During the discogram your nurse will monitor your vital signs. The nurse will administer medication for your comfort as directed by the doctor.
  • As a safety precaution you will be given oxygen.
  • You will be asked to determine if your usual pain is reproduced, and how intense your pain is on a scale of 0-10. If the procedure recreates the painful symptoms, the disc/discs are classified as abnormal. The results from the discogram will help the healthcare professionals involved in your care determine the next step in your treatment.

After the Procedure:

When the procedure is completed you will be given pain medication if you need. You will be transported to the recovery room to be monitored until you are stable, usually 40–60 minutes. Post procedure instructions will be given before you are discharged. Because this is a test you will follow up with your surgeon and he or she will explain the procedure results and your options.

You will need to limit your activity for 24-48 hours using prescribed medication and ice or heat (whichever works the best) for you. You may resume a normal diet after the procedure and remember to eat something before taking any pain medications or anti inflammatories. Gradually increase activity to normal by the following morning.


You may notice an increase in your pain. Medication will be provided to temporarily reduce your pain.

Infection is an unusual but serious occurrence. Signs are: redness, swelling or drainage of the injection site. If you experience drainage, increasing unrelieved pain, and oral temperature above 100.8 degrees, night sweats and flushing, please call our office.


If you have questions regarding the information you have read here, feel free to ask your referring physician or call Dr. Lutz’s office for further information.
 Additional links on the website are provided for more detailed information.

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