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Benefits and Risks - Discography
No radiation remains in a patient's body after a discogram procedure.
Discography images the structural integrity of the disc(s)
Discography can aid in treatment planning
Discography is minimally invasive and is an outpatient procedure requiring no hospitalization
X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.
Additional CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
There are always some risks associated with any exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
The effective radiation dose for this discogram procedure varies.
CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
If a patient is breast feeding and must have a CT scan with IV or oral iodinated contrast media, ACR guidelines state that it is safe for mother and infant to continue breast-feeding after receiving such an agent. It has been found that less than 1% of contrast is excreted into the breast milk within the first 24 hours.
If the mother remains concerned, she may abstain from breast-feeding for 24 hours post the CT with active expression and discarding of breast milk from both breasts during that period.
The risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine is extremely rare, and radiology departments are well-equipped to deal with them.
A discogram is generally a safe procedure. However, there is a risk of the following complications:
infection of the space between discs
worsening of chronic back pain
injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine