What is the role of discography studies in the workup of lumbosacral radiculopathy?

Updated: Jan 25, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Discography (see image below)

Discogram showing examples of an intact disc and a Discogram showing examples of an intact disc and a disrupted disc at the lumbar level.

Discography is rarely necessary in the evaluation of acute LBP, and it is certainly not recommended within the first 3 months of treatment. Discography studies can be helpful in patients whose condition has not had a satisfactory response to a well-coordinated rehabilitation program or who have normal or equivocal MRI findings. In such cases, discography may have some benefit in localizing a symptomatic disc as the etiology of nonradicular back pain. (See also the Medscape Reference article Discography.)

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