Prepare for a Discogram

A discogram is an enhanced X-ray examination of the intervertebral discs. Contrast dye is injected into the center of the disc(s). The dye makes the disc visible on a fluoroscope (special X-ray screen) and CT scan. 

Patient Safety Tips Prior to the Procedure in Radiology

  • Please let us know if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to medications.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, please tell your doctor or technologist.
  • Please leave your valuables at home.
  • Please let us now if you need a translator.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications with you, and bring any pain medications with you.
  • Stop taking Aspirin or aspirin-containing products at least 5 days prior to the procedure. If you are taking other blood thinning medications (Plavix, Coumadin or warfarin, Lovenox, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin®, Ibuprofen) contact your doctor.
  • A responsible adult must accompany you home after the exam.

Preparation for the procedure

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the exam.
  • Medications may be taken with a small amount of water.
  • Bring any x-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans of your spine.
  • Please arrive 60 minutes before the scheduled exam time.
  • You will talk to the radiologist about the plan for the procedure and give your consent.

Preparation for the procedure

  • The duration of the procedure will vary, but the average is about 2 hours.
  • The technologist will position you on the exam table, usually lying flat on your stomach.
  • The nurse will place monitors on you to measure your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level and will place an intravenous (IV) in your arm for medications. You will be sedated for the procedure.

After the procedure

  • You will stay in the radiology holding area for observation and recovery.
  • You should take it easy for 24 hours and perform activities as tolerated by you.
  • If you feel any symptoms such as fever, chills, increase in back pain at rest, difficulty moving your legs or abnormal sensations in your legs, let the nurse know, or call your doctor, or if you are very worried visit an emergency room.

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