Lumbar discography, also called a discogram, is an injection technique used to evaluate patients with back pain who have not responded to extensive conservative nonsurgical treatment options. The most common use of discography is for surgical planning prior to a lumbar fusion. Lumbar discography is considered for patients who, despite extensive conservative treatment, have disabling lower back pain, groin pain, hip pain, and/or leg pain. When a variety of spinal diagnostic procedures have failed to identify the primary pain generator, you may benefit from lumbar discography especially if spine surgery is contemplated.
It is important to understand that a discogram is less about determining what the condition of your disc looks like, and more about determining if the disc is painful. It is well known among discographers that a really abnormal looking disc may not be painful and a minimally disrupted disc may be associated with severe pain. It is impossible to definitively diagnose a painful disc without performing a discogram.