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    Old 07-15-2006, 09:50 AM   #1
    dub1
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    Question Discogram

    Hi, I am new to the group and would like to ask if anyone has ever had a discogram or disography? I am scheduled to have one Aug 10th.

    I have had back problems for the last 10 years, when i was 17 I herniated my L4. That problem slowly went away for about three years, then i started having constant pain in my lower back. This pain was tolerable at first some motrin would handle it but the last two years have been unbearable! I started seeing a PM doc last nov. and was put on Norco every 4 hours to handle the pain. I have now been put on avinza with norco as the b/t. I have had lots of Injections, radiofrequency nerve burns, blocks, and epidurals to try and allieviate this problem. These work but only for a breif period. I then went to a orthededic surgeon to have him check out what the real issue was. So far he has determined I have spondylosis in
    L5, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease. Now he wants me to have this disogram to show exactly where the pain generators are. I am nervous about this procedure i hear it's like having an injection but with no anethesia.

     
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    Old 07-15-2006, 11:57 AM   #2
    charliecat31
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    Re: Discogram

    Hi Dub1
    I've had two discograms, so hopefully I can give you some of the information that you are looking for. If I leave out anything you want to know, just ask and I'll do my best to fill you in.

    It's not a fun test, it's painful. Most doctors will give you some type of sedation, you'll still be awake, but you'll be pretty out of it. During my first one I don't remember a thing, the second though, I remember some serious pain. Had the same doctor, same sedation, even same guy administering the sedation, so I'm not sure why I felt the second one so much more.

    They put dye into your discs to see if it replicates the pain you normally have. They can then look on a tv screen and see where you have tears, cracks, etc. in your discs. You'll be in additional pain for a few days afterwards. It can range from a day or two up to a week or two. After my first it was 4 or 5 days and I had my pain back down to my normal level. After the second, it took almost two weeks. Everyone is differnt, so it's hard to say. I found that icing my back offered some relief and my doctor increased my meds for a few days to help manage it.

    It's very painful, but an extremely beneficial test. If I HAD to have another one, I would. Just follow your docs orders for after.

    Do you have any specific questions about it? Would be glad to answer whatever I can.
    Dee

    Last edited by charliecat31; 07-15-2006 at 11:58 AM. Reason: forgot something

     
    Old 07-15-2006, 09:03 PM   #3
    ARANGER
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    Re: Discogram

    Hey Deb,

    I have had a disco by my PM doc. Like the other poster mentioned, it can be painful. However, it is generally more painful if your discs are bad.

    Most docs will use sedation and possibly pain meds. My procedure took about two hours. They started with an IV and gave me Diprivan which is an anesthetic. I went to sleep for maybe 30 minutes and then they woke me up and had several needles going into my spine. The doc then started injecting the dye into the discs, but they don't tell you which ones. I immediately started feeling pain, and at sometimes it was severe. He assured me the most of the pain would only be a few minutes while he made the notes.

    As soon as they were done injecting the dye under flouroscopy, he gave me 3mg of Dilaudid. They then sent me to a hospital for a CT scan to see if any of the discs were leaking. Prior to leaving, the gave Morphine as an IM.

    I was pretty sore the next day, but the Disco did reveal several bad discs which I've had multiple surgeries for.

    I would talk with the doc or nurse prior to going in to make sure they will sedate you. They don't want you completely sedated because the doc needs to talk to you and actually needs you to feel the pain so he can note which discs it is coming from.

    I have a great PM so he took care of me. But you may just want to check with the nurse or doc so you know what to expect.

    Good luck with the disco. Take Care

     
    Old 07-16-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
    dub1
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    Re: Discogram

    Thank you for the help. I will be talking to the doc about some sort of pain medicine. I hope mine is as successful as yours were. Thank you

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 08:55 AM   #5
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    Re: Discogram

    I just had one about 6 weeks back. I asked and they said I could take valium before I came in. I took a 10mg valium. I do not remember any pain during the process. They administer a drug ...not sure how to say it...to make us forget the pain. Others can state that more elequently, but you get what I mean.

    They did ask what other meds I was on, so I gave them a print out of them. It was about a 2 hour process.

    I don't remember being sore, and the wife confirmed that. Good luck with it...oh yes, I walked over to get the CT scan.

    Best wishes for it to go smoothly for you.

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 01:21 PM   #6
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    Re: Discogram

    Hi Dub, I must have been born in the wrong decade. I had a 5 level disco and was given absolutely nothing untlil after the procedure. The purpose of the disco is to determine pain generators like your doc said. If the pain generator is a disc, then the test reproduces the worst pain you have experienced. Actually mine produced more pain than I had ever experienced. But it confirmed the problem was several discs.

    I have heard of usng a short acting anesthestic for the needle placement. They place needles into different areas of the disc, the annulus "core" and the fibrous part of the disc at every level, either sedated or not. If your problem is a torn disc, a 10 mg valium won't do squat except prevent a possible seizure.

    After they place all the needles into the discs they suspect and one or two they know are good to compare the difference in your response. They inject dye into the discs to look for tears. Does the dye stay in the annulus or blead out, does it stay in the disc or blead out, etc? If the disc is torn or shreaded, dye flows everywhere and the pain can be excruciating. Bragging about how easy a disco was just means the problem isn't a disc.

    Needle placement is a bear when they run through nerves but it's nothing compared to trying to inflate a blown disc with dye. I couldn't stand or walk after they determined 3 discs were completely shot and dye ran everywhere. I'm sure the folks a couple rooms down the hall were wondering what the heck they were doing to make a grown man scream. I honestly thought you would pass out under that kind of pain, but unfortunately It never happened.

    Obviously discos' are different for everyone., A bulge or some degeneration isn't the same as no remaining anulus and floating hunks of discs in the spinal canal that become entrapped in the outlets. This test will determine this. If you can skip off to CT, your discs are fine.

    Everyone over the age of 30 has some degree of disc degeneration or a bulge that may or may not be compressing a nerve or your spinal cord but it won't produce a positve response unless the disc is torn in some area. This is really the best test to determine if the probelem is the disc, although extremely barbaric when the goal is to reproduce your worst pain. If the problem is the disc or discs it will light your @@$ up and show in the films and under flouroscopy where the dye is leaking out through tears. The goal is to determine if one or more discs are your major pain generator. If it's just DDD or a mild bulge it's uncomfortable when infalted with dye, but no more than a healthy disc or one without tears. If it doesn't light you up, it's a pretty good indicator a fusion isn't required to take the pressure of the disc.

    Without knowing the condition of the discs, nobody can tell you what your disco is going to be like. Every doc has their own belief on the use of pre medication for this procedure, but you have to be awake when they inject the dye to be able to respond. Personally I don't think anything you could take orally prior to a disco would mask a positive response. Has anyone else actually had a positive disco which required surgery? Telling you it's a breeze, just means their disco didn't produce a positive response. So you have everything from I can't remeber it to I screamed like a little girl when they inflated torn discs with dye.

    Good luck and I hope you find an answer or solution you can live with.
    Take care, Dave

    Last edited by Shoreline; 07-18-2006 at 01:29 PM.

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 01:46 PM   #7
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    Re: Discogram

    Shoreline/Dave:
    In my opinion, Discograms are what should be done to terrorists, murders, child molesters, etc.. Hopefully someday they will find a way to see what is going on in our discs in a less painful way. Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has to undergo this.

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 02:46 PM   #8
    marbelmo
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    Re: Discogram

    OK, now I'm really freaked out because I'm having a cervical discogram soon.I was told it was to determine whether or not I'm going to need a single or 2 level fusion. Should I reconsider this procedure? My Neurosurgeon said it was an important diagnostic tool and would not be that uncomfortable. He compared it to an ESI and said the only very remote risk was that of infection.

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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    Re: Discogram

    Your doctor is right - this is a very, very valuable tool!! Please do not reconsider. I swear to you, if I had to have another one (I've already had two positive, with 2 discs positive on one and 3 on the other) I would absolutely have it.

    What I should have said is that this is a procedure that should be done without sedation on murderers, etc.. As long as your doctor is going to give you some type of sedation (which most do) you should be fine. I'm very sorry if I scared you.

     
    Old 07-18-2006, 07:20 PM   #10
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    Re: Discogram

    Hey marbemo, Your doc is right that it's a neccesarry tool to absolutely determine if there is damage to a dsisc that needs to be decompressed via fusion. Unfortunatley it's a monster when the disc is torn. I'm sure the severity of the tear makes some difference too. Meds can be used during the insertion process and then reversed to be able to interpret your reaction. Ideally they cold put you back under using something with hypnotic properties leaving little meory of the experience. Aside from the pain, MY surgeon hummed show tunes and they need a towel to wipe the sweat, snot and vomit off the table when they were done with me. I wasn't gieven a thing untill after the CT. I would certainly discuss the proper use of meds and explain, that if the disc is bad enough to need a fusion, they aren't going to mask a positive response using a short actng anesthetic. They certainly have the ability to control the pain outside that few minute window when they actually fill the discs with dye.

    There really is no other choice that will give the kind of physical evidence "CT and flouro images" and reproduce the pain you already know. If you can handle waking up with hardware in your spine after surgery, you can handle a disco. It does give a whole new meaning to 10 or the meaning of the worst pain you can imagine. But if you need an extra level fused, not doing it now will just mean you will be back in even faster if the other disc is already torn. Fusions put added stress on the discs above and below the fusion site. If the other disc is already going, the fusion will spead the process and odds for a second surgery are much worse than your first.

    Sorry , I don't suger coat everything because I think people should know. I also think if you have the opportunity to have surgery and can correct the problem, it's better than living the rest of your life on Opiates.

    Good luck, Dave

    Last edited by Shoreline; 07-18-2006 at 07:30 PM.

     
    Old 07-19-2006, 03:34 AM   #11
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    Re: Discogram

    I am curious as to what is the difference between a discogram and a myelogram (spelling?) I have 3 herniations lumar area and had everything done years ago except surgery. now it's my neck and my back. i'm hearing alot about this discogram but don't think i ever had one. Lots of injection (lumbat) and am sure i'm heading that way with my neck. can someone explain the difference between injections, myelograms and discograms?

     
    Old 08-16-2006, 08:11 PM   #12
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    Re: Discogram

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to follow up with everyone. I was not one of the lucky people to walk to my ct scan. In fact I'm pretty sure i blacked out when they loaded up my L5. I remember moaning very loudly and then they were shaking me telling me it was over. I recieved a shot of toradol which didn't begin to touch it. I couldn't move at all in the recovery bed and was having an aweful time. They then gave me a shot of dilaudid. After about 20 min after the dilaudid i was able to slowly sit up. I did walk to the c/t but after a pretty heavy dose. By walk it was more like a shuffle. I don't want to scare anyone out there i am very happy that i had it done. I was told that i would be a canidate for adr and i have a grade 4 L5-S1. Whatever that means. I will be meeting with the othepedic surgeon the 30th. I will keep you all posted. Thank you for your advice and comments it made me feel better knowing you all have survived this procedure. I am very grateful for this site and the people on it.

     
    Old 08-16-2006, 09:11 PM   #13
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    Re: Discogram

    [QUOTE=ICC]I am curious as to what is the difference between a discogram and a myelogram (spelling?) I have 3 herniations lumar area and had everything done years ago except surgery. now it's my neck and my back. i'm hearing alot about this discogram but don't think i ever had one. Lots of injection (lumbat) and am sure i'm heading that way with my neck. can someone explain the difference between injections, myelograms and discograms?[/QUOTE]
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me mylelogram is a little better !! I have read on these boards they are not nearly as traumatic as discograms.... I still have yet to 'get my nerve up' to call and schedule mine which my surgeon last week gave me the prescription to call and schedule one. Good luck with your disco and please keep me in your thoughts when I finally get 'my nerve up' to schedule my mylelogram.....

     
    Old 08-16-2006, 11:25 PM   #14
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    Re: Discogram

    it will be fine. It's only painful if you have a bad disk. Don't stress over it. Believe me, the pain is not as bad as the pain you will feel after surgery. Best of luck with the test. Hope it turns out good for your sake.

    Tim

     
    Old 08-17-2006, 09:57 AM   #15
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    Re: Discogram

    hi Dub
    I'm glad to hear that you made it through the discogram and now have a better idea of what is causing your pain. Please do [B]a lot[/B] of research on disc replacement before having it done. I have not had this, but have read many posts here on this board and information elsewhere and from what I understand it can carry some very extreme risks. A great place to start is to click on the "search" button at the top of the page and read what others here have to say about the subject.

    Good luck to you whatever you end up doing!

     
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