A discogram, also called discography, is a diagnostic test that uses a fluoroscope (x-rays) and dye to evaluate back pain. A discogram enables your doctor to get a clear view of your discs in ways that aren’t achievable with regular x-rays and myelograms. It helps your doctor determine if a specific abnormal disk in your spine is causing your back pain.
Usually, the results of a discogram are combined with other tests such as an MRI or CT scan and physical examination to determine a course treatment.
Spinal disks are sponge-like cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. During a discogram, dye is injected into the soft center of one or more disks. The dye moves into any cracks in the disk’s exterior, which can then be seen on an X-ray or CT scan.
A discogram works in two ways: both to view your disc and find the source of your pain. Your doctor injects the dye into your disc space to try to recreate the pain. If you feel pain, then that disc is the likely source. If you don’t feel the same kind of pain, even if that disc appears degenerated on the MRI scan, then other possible causes of your pain should be explored.