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4 level discogram. What to expect after?

JLambzJJLambz Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I am going in Friday morning for a discogram for L2-L3, L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1. All of these discs are effected by DDD. We are trying to determine which discs we could do what to to give me some relief. He wants to know where my debilitating issues are coming from. He is the 3rd surgeon I have seen and I LOVE him! He is the first one to offer me ANY sort of hope for my situation. The others have told me that I need a 4 level fusion, they won't do that and go see pain management for some drugs.

I guess what I want to know is....what I can I expect? I know, it hurts. I get that. I'm pretty prepared for that part...well as much as one can be :-/ What I'm wondering about is recovery. Those who have had one, how long did it take to calm down? I'm in my husband's little sister's wedding 8 days later. I'm just hoping I'll be able to walk and function ok by then. In my past experience, when I have had a bad flare up, it has lasted anywhere from 2 days to 2 months.


  • Not a pleasant procedure. Not that it's ever happened to me but I felt like I had been kicked by a horse. It doesn't take too long to recover. 1-2 days rest, then you need to be up moving around.
    Similar to injections if you have had any, but a bit longer to recover
    You definitely need pain relief
  • Thanks for the reply :)
    Had it done on Friday. Now mind you, I have given birth twice with last minute and then no epidural. That was BY FAR the most painful thing I have EVER experienced...EVER! They gave me 3 doses of dilaudid and benadryl and I was crying out in agony. Finally they gave me a 4th half dose and sent me on my way home with a level 8 on the pain scale. I returned to the emergency later that evening because I was in so much pain I was shaking and vomiting. Horrible. That's the only word to describe it....HORRIBLE! Maybe it's because I had 4 consecutive levels done? I"m not sure. I just now today feel almost back to my normal level of everyday pain. I see my surgeon tomorrow morning for the results and our plan of action, if any. Fingers crossed that the test was at least worth while.
  • Sorry you had such a rough time with your discogram. I had started a post on this thread last week, but didnt want to get you worked up prior to the proceedure. I had four levels done on my back and two out of the four were out of control painful. I'm pretty sure I would have gone into shock if they didnt pump me full of versed right afterwards. I must have got much more versed afterwards because I was feeling no pain right after the discogram.

    It took me a few days to get back on my feet afterwards, but it took a good month or so before I got back down to my baseline pain level. I really hope that the information gained by your discogram is the start of a plan to get you out of pain and moving forward with your life. Let us know what the results are and what your surgeon has to say about it....Mitch
  • I had it done with only local. And they repeated 1 level. It is not a nice experience
    There wasn't ant surgery that could be done, S1-L1
    Herniated discs 3.4.5 S1. I now have SCS which is brilliant and did a PM course for 3 wks
    I am now back to work after 5 yrs, 3 days a week 3 hours a day
    I was told I would never work again
    Best of luck
  • Had mine about a month ago... not fun in any way shape or form (see my disco dancing thread), but i would do it again in a heartbeat as my disco found the root of my leg pain that fusion dr #1 could never find.

    Now when my revision is done by new neuro, we will also target the two new ones that were positive on the discogram.

    One of them is white on an MRI vs the usual black = bad....there is no substitute for true diagnostic medicine (vs blind reliance on imaging)

    As the other poster said... not fun, it hurts, but 1-2 days and you'll be back to where you were again

    Good luck :-)
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • cjp1986ccjp1986 Posts: 42
    edited 08/27/2012 - 7:21 AM
    i just had my discogram, 4 levels on 8/22 and yes it was painful, but only for a few seconds, then the anesthesiologist gives you pain med. Then they do another one, etc, etc. I am 5 days post op form it and still some soreness. but not too bad. I go tomorrow to see my spine surgeon for results and surgery date for spinal fusion. Good luck to you, and let us know how you are doing.
  • Ok now I am freaking out. I have my discogram this afternoon and was told, not by the doctor doing it but by others, that it is painful. I was prepared until I read this and can read first hand how painful it is. I want to vomit just thinking about it. ugggghhhhhhhh. Wish me luck. :o/

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • ButtzyBButtzy Posts: 2
    edited 09/16/2012 - 7:05 AM
    I had a single level discogram on S1L5 on the 9 th July and by 4 th August i was admitted into hospital because we could not control pain at home. On 28 th August I had the disc removed and a interbody cage and fusion done. I stayed in hospital until surgery and after my surgeon told me that the disc was like wet marshmallow. For me I can say the pain of the discogram was horrific and I could not walk after but it did lead my surgeon to the correct disc.

    I can not say for sure if the discogram lead to the pain going from controlled with a huge amount of dugs including fentanyl patches, OxyContin oxynorm and Valium. It just for me got worse each day since the discogram to the point where I could no longer function and lost ll blader sensation. Even after hospital admission it took one week for pain relief to be right, and that was a PCA of morphine and kedimine plus gabapenton 400 mg Valium Celebrex and endone and valium.

    Almost three weeks post surgery, things are going slow but I am home. Still on a lot of drugs but more now for the unbearable nerve pain.
    Good luck and hope this helps
  • I had my discogram yesterday, less than 24 hours ago. Generally, it was not bad at all as I was expecting much worse. They did hit nerve which was quite painful but other than that everything went quite well. Today, I'm a little sore but not near as bad as I thought I would be. Good luck.
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