Discogram is performed in patients with pain that may be coming from intervertebral discs and usually for the purpose of demonstrating which discs may be the specific ones causing pain. A needle is inserted into the disc center and a pressurized pump is used to inject contrast material through the needle. The contrast pattern in the disc is then looked at under an x-ray and sometimes a CT. During the procedure, patients are usually sedated and remember little, if any, of the procedure, but they are usually awake enough to tell whether the injection causes pressure in their usual pain area.
Despite what some patients have heard or see on the internet, the procedure is not typically painful and is done in a very controlled environment using numbing medication and sedation. As noted above, usually a discogram is done only to see where pain may be coming from, but increasingly biologics-based therapies are used to help heal damaged discs at the time of the discogram procedure. If the discogram is being done only to find the specific problem disc, your provider at ASAP may recommend minimally-invasive surgery or another procedure to help relieve the pain.