The disc injections will reproduce your pain symptoms (if caused by a disc problem). You will have enough sedation so that you stay relaxed with minimal discomfort. Take a few long, deep breaths to help yourself relax. Tell your care team if any discomfort does not pass quickly.

What are the risks and potential complications of a discogram?  

Complications after a discogram are uncommon, but any medical procedure involves risk and potential complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or recovery. Risks and potential complications of a discogram include: 

  • Adverse reaction or problems related to the contrast dye, sedation, or other medications, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Exposure to radiation, which may be harmful in excessive doses. Your care team follows strict standards for X-ray techniques and will use the lowest amount of radiation possible to make the best images.
  • Headache
  • Infection
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Paralysis

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and: 

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your procedure and during recovery
  • Informing your doctor or radiologist if you are nursing or if there is any possibility of pregnancy
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed
  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies 

How do I prepare for my discogram?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before procedure discogram can improve your comfort and help ensure the most accurate test results. 

You can prepare for a discogram by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Arranging for a ride home if sedation will be used during your discogram
  • Following instructions about eating and drinking before a discogram
  • Getting all necessary laboratory testing completed before your procedure
  • Leaving jewelry, metal objects, credit cards, and other valuables at home
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.

Questions to ask your doctor

Preparing for a discogram can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a brief doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before a discogram and between appointments.  

It is a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need a discogram? Are there any other options for diagnosing my condition?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after the procedure? When can return to work and other activities?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
  • How should I take my medications? 
  • How will you treat my pain? When and how will I receive the results of my test?
  • What other tests or treatments might I need?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • When and how should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.

What can I expect after my discogram?

Knowing what to expect after a discogram can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.

How will I feel after the discogram?

You may have a temporary increase in back pain or pain at the injection site for several hours after your discogram. Apply ice packs and take your pain medication as directed by your doctor. You might also feel drowsy from the sedative medication. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes in any way because it may be a sign of a complication.